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Brain function is largely shaped by experience in early life, creating windows of both great opportunity and vulnerability. Our work has focused on the biological basis for such critical periods, identifying both “triggers” and “brakes” on plasticity. Strikingly, the maturation of particular inhibitory circuits is pivotal for the onset timing of these windows. Manipulations of their emergence can either accelerate or delay developmental trajectories regardless of chronological age. Notably, many neurodevelopmental disorders are linked to alterations in excitatory-inhibitory balance, suggesting shifted critical period timing as part of their etiology. Closure of critical periods in turn reflects an active process, rather than a purely passive loss of plasticity factors. Lifting these brakes allows the reopening of plastic windows later in life, but may also underlie instability in disease states. Thus, understanding how brain plasticity and stability are balanced throughout life offers new insight into mental illness and novel therapeutic strategies for recovery of function in adulthood.

  • Zoom option if unable to attend in person
  • Zoom link here (click on “Join a meeting”)
  • Meeting ID: 99412 188589
  • Passcode: 188589

To attend the trainee lunch following the seminar or to schedule a meeting with Dr. Hensch, please email Kim at kschmidt@mail.ubc.ca


May 13, 2022
11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Rudy North Lecture Theatre, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health
2215 Wesbrook Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3 Canada

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