Mark Henkemeyer, PhD

Mark Henkemeyer, PhD, is a professor of neuroscience at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He was born and raised in Minnesota and received his bachelor’s degree in genetics and cell biology, summa cum laude, at the University of Minnesota. He earned his PhD in oncology (cancer research) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied the Abelson oncogene implicated in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). His early work on Abelson showed for the first time that this potent oncogene is actually very important for normal development and formation of the nervous system, thus setting the stage for a 30-plus year s career focused on the neurosciences. During his postdoctoral training at the Mt. Sinai Hospital and University of Toronto in the early 1990’s, Henkemeyer cloned and made key initial discoveries of the EphB2 receptor, showing with genetics its importance in axon guidance as the brain becomes wired during development, and with biochemistry its importance in cell-to-cell (neuron-to-neuron) signaling. Since moving to Dallas 20 years ago to build his own research group, he has focused all attention on the EphB receptors and their Ephrin ligands. His research has built strong evidence that these molecules are very important players in both the developing brain and spinal cord as the nervous system becomes wired and connected. He has further studied the Ephs and Ephrins in the mature/aging brain, where these proteins have key functions in the synapse and are important in synaptic plasticity, memory formation, and pathologies of the synapse (neuropathic pain and AD).