Tara Keck

Dr. Keck is a Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology at University College London, where she leads a research group studying neuroplasticity and its applications for improving global health. Dr. Keck completed her B.A. at Harvard University in engineering sciences. She then did her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Boston University with John White, where she used electrophysiology to study the effects of tonic inhibition on neuronal processing and plasticity in the hippocampus. She then did her postdoctoral work with Tobias Bonhoeffer and Mark Huebener at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Munich, Germany. She studied the effects of input loss from the peripheral nervous system on functional and structural cortical plasticity, with a focus on synaptic plasticity. In 2010, she was awarded an MRC Career Development Fellowship to start her own lab at the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology at King’s College London and moved to UCL in 2014. She was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in 2018. She has been a consultant on neuroplasticity to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Bangladesh and was named a UNFPA Generations and Gender Fellow in 2022. She has worked on research projects with the UNFPA teams in Azerbaijan, Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia, and Kosovo.

Dr. Keck is also active in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Together with Charmian Dawson, she has developed a project to reduce the Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) Awarding Gap for students at UCL, by creating a positive belonging environment and helping students develop a neuroplastic or growth mindset, both of which have been shown to improve outcomes for BAME students. She is currently the co-chair of the Racial Equity Committee in the Division of Biosciences and serves on the Faculty of Life Sciences EDI Advisory Group at UCL. She is also the EDI co-chair for the Harvard Women in Defence, Diplomacy and Development.