Benjamin Blencowe is the Banbury Chair in Medical Research and a professor in the Donnelly Centre and Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. He also serves as director of the University of Toronto Donnelly Sequencing Centre. Blencowe is internationally recognized for his contributions to the understanding of splicing regulation. His group is currently engaged in the systematic analysis of the regulation, function and evolution of RNA regulatory networks, with a focus on alternative splicing networks that control nervous system development.
Blencowe and colleagues recently demonstrated that a network of highly conserved neuronal microexons is frequently misregulated in autism spectrum disorders and that the disruption of the regulator of this network results in autism-like phenotypes in mice. Blencowe has been the recipient of several research awards, including the Ontario Government Premier’s Research Excellence Award, the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences Senior Investigator Award and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada John C. Polyani Award. He was recently elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.