She earned an International Baccalaureate with honors in 1999 from Lycée Jeanne d’Albret, in France, and then entered the University of Texas, in Austin, where she earned a B.S. in Computer Science (2005) and an M.A. in Plant Biology (2008). In 2013 she earned her Ph.D., cum laude, in Bioinformatics, from the University of Barcelona.
At the center of her research is a fascination with the way living beings interact with their environment. This inquiry has produced a body of work that ranges from scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, to projects with landscape architects, to artistic practice. She has made contributions to understanding how plants respond to the force of gravity, how genome structure changes in response to stress, and most recently has turned her attention to the ubiquitous and invisible microbial component of our environment.
She has presented her research findings at scientific conferences such as the International Society of Microbial Ecology, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the International Conference on Transposable Elements, and her design projects have been exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale and at local Brooklyn galleries, among other venues.
Prior to coming to the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Hénaff undertook postdoctoral research at Barcelona’s Center for Genomic Regulation, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Weill Cornell Medical College, and was a research associate at the MIT Media Lab. Her teaching experience includes a program of international workshops implemented for varied audiences, from students at Rockefeller University to technologists at the Tokyo FabLab.