Robert F. Hevner, MD, PhD

Robert F. Hevner, MD, PhD


On staff since April 2008

Research Center: Center for Integrative Brain Research

"As a college student, I was very curious about why we behave as we do — how the brain defines our individual personalities and emotions. But psychology seemed too high-level to study in a rigorous way. I liked cells and molecules, things that you could very rigorously define and study. Our research lays a foundation for the future — the essential foundation. Every day, I learn about the brain. I can’t think of anything else I would rather do."

    • Hevner RF
      Brain overgrowth in disorders of RTK-PI3K-AKT signaling: a mosaic of malformations
      Seminars in Perinatology , 2015 : 3936-43
    • Sun T, Hevner RF
      Growth and folding of the mammalian cerebral cortex: from molecules to malformations
      Nature Reviews Neuroscience , 2014 : 15217-32
    • Kahoud RJ, Elsen GE, Hevner RF, Hodge RD
      Conditional ablation of Tbr2 results in abnormal development of the olfactory bulbs and subventricular zone-rostral migratory stream
      Developmental Dynamics , 2014 : 243(440-50)


Board Certification(s)

Pathology - Anatomic

Medical/Professional School

Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee


Pathology - Anatomic, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston


Neuropathology, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford
University of California San Francisco, San Francisco

Research Description

My research group studies transcription factors and neurogenesis in the developing and adult mouse brain. Transcription factors are master regulators of gene expression that act together, in combination and sequentially, to activate or repress genetic programs of cell cycle progression, cell migration, axon guidance, synapse formation, and neuronal fate and subtype specification. These fundamental programs in neurogenesis hold great scientific and medical interest, because of their significance for human brain development and disease. When all goes well, these developmental programs produce the extraordinary structural and functional complexity of the human brain and mind. But when development goes awry, for example, due to a genetic mutation, defects of these programs cause neuropsychiatric disorders - such as autism, epilepsy and mental retardation - often with devastating consequences for individuals, families and society. These human disorders are an important part of my clinical focus in pediatric and developmental neuropathology, and so my research and clinical work complement each other.

As an independent faculty investigator, I have followed the strands of transcription factors and neurogenesis into four main areas:
(1) cerebral cortex development
(2) adult neurogenesis
(3) cerebellum development, and
(4) autism.

Our goals in future studies are to understand the pathogenesis of pediatric brain diseases, and to develop new therapeutic approaches based on neuroregeneration.

About My Work

Research Focus Area

Cell Biology, Genetics and Developmental Biology, Neuroscience / Neurodevelopment