Title: Faculty & research interests





Christopher E Henderson
Christopher E Henderson, PhD
Co-Director, Motor Neuron Center
Director, CSCI

Full Member

Department: Pathology and Cell Biology

P&S 5- 420B

Personal Website

Disease Models: Drug Screening, Neurological Diseases

Stem Cell Categories: iPS, ES and other embryonic stem cells

Model Organisms: Human, Rodent

Themes: Neurodegeneration

Chris Henderson's work is focused on the development and pathology of motor neurons, the nerve cells in the spinal cord that trigger muscle contraction and therefore allow us to walk and breathe. When motor neurons are lost in patients with SMA (spinal muscular atrophy) or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Lou Gehrig's disease), the consequences are dramatic. Henderson and his team are studying the mechanisms of motor neuron growth, survival and cell death and how these are regulated in human disease. Molecular events that play a key role in the disease process are potential therapeutic targets, and the Henderson lab is developing techniques for their systematic validation in vivo. Henderson's interest in stem cell research derives from the possibility, developed at Columbia, of using mouse and human ES cells to produce large quantities of motor neurons. In collaboration with Hynek Wichterle (CSCI) and Kevin Eggan (Harvard Stem Cell Institute), the Henderson team derived the first iPS cell lines from human ALS patients, and are using motor neurons derived from these as a basis to better model the disease in the culture dish and screen for drugs that can slow degeneration. This work is carried out in the Columbia Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease (MNC; www.ColumbiaMNC.org) and the Project A.L.S./Jenifer Estess Laboratory for Stem Cell Research (www.ProjectALS.org); Henderson is co-director of both. Henderson was co-founder of Trophos, a drug discovery biotech which currently has a drug in Phase 2/3 clinical trials for ALS and SMA that was identified by direct screening on motor neurons. Drug screening at Columbia will greatly benefit from the new stem cell-focused shared facility for High Throughput Discovery, co-funded by NYSTEM and the Helmsley Trust.


Duplan, L., Bernard, N., Casseron, W., Dudley, K., Thouvenot, E., Honnorat, J., Rogemond, V., De Bovis, B., Aebischer, P., Marin, P., Raoul, C., Henderson, C.E., Pettmann, B. (2010).
Collapsin response mediator protein 4a (CRMP4a) is upregulated in motoneurons of mutant SOD1 mice and can trigger motoneuron axonal degeneration and cell death. J. Neurosci 30:785-796. (2010)

Chauvet, S., Cohen, S., Yoshida, Y., Fekrane, L., Livet, J., Gayet, O., Segu, L., Buhot, M.C., Jessell, T.M., Henderson, C.E., and Mann, F. (2007).
Gating of Sema3E/PlexinD1 signaling by neuropilin-1 switches axonal repulsion to attraction during brain development. Neuron 56:807-822. (2007)

Dimos, J.T., Rodolfa, K.T., Niakan, K.K., Weisenthal, L.M., Mitsumoto, H., Chung, W., Croft, G.F., Saphier, G., Leibel, R., Goland, R., Wichterle, H., Henderson, C.E., and Eggan, K. (2008).
Induced pluripotent stem cells generated from patients with ALS can be differentiated into motor neurons. Science 321:1218-1221. (2007)

Raoul, C., Abbas-Terki, T., Bensadoun, J.C., Guillot, S., Haase, G., Szulc, J., Henderson, C.E., and Aebischer, P. (2005).
Lentiviral-mediated silencing of SOD1 through RNA interference retards disease onset and progression in a mouse model of ALS. Nature Medicine 11:423-428. (2005)

Bordet, T., Buisson, B., Michaud, M., Drouot, C., Galea, P., Delaage, P., Akentieva, N.P., Evers, A.S., Covey, D.F., Ostuni, M.A., Lacapere, J.J., Massaad, C., Schumacher, M., Steidl, E.M., Maux, D., Delaage, M., Henderson, C.E., and Pruss, R.M. (2
Identification and characterization of cholest-4-en-3-one, oxime (TRO19622), a novel drug candidate for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 322:709-720. ()

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