Research news

  • Feng Zhang has devised a new method to insert or alter genes with great precision. Image: Steve Dixon, Feng Zhang

    Genome editing becomes more accurate

    Improved technique makes it easier to add or delete genes in living cells, with less risk of off-target DNA damage.
  • Feng Zhang in his laboratory with graduate student Patrick Hsu. Photo: Justin Knight

    Controlling genes with light

    Although human cells have an estimated 20,000 genes, only a fraction of those are turned on at any given time, depending on the cell’s needs — which can change by the minute or hour. To find out what those genes are doing, researchers need …

  • Breaking habits before they start

    Breaking habits before they start

    McGovern neuroscientists examine how to prevent habits from forming.
  • MIT study sheds light on what causes compulsive behavior, could improve OCD treatments. Photo: istockphoto.com

    Compulsive no more

    Study sheds light on causes of compulsive behavior, could improve OCD treatments.
  • Graybiel in her lab with research scientist Jill Crittenden. Photo: Justin Knight

    Breaking down the Parkinson’s pathway

    New study is first to analyze how affected brain cells respond during different behavioral tasks.
  • Structure of a TAL effector protein wrapped around a DNA double helix. Image based on data from Mak et al., Science 2012.

    Editing the genome with high precision

    New method allows scientists to insert, delete genes with greater specificity.
  • Image: Marcia Williams Medical Illustrations

    Precisely engineering 3-D brain tissues

    New design technique could enable personalized medicine, studies of brain wiring.
  • Optogenetics is a technique that allows researchers to control brain cell activity using light.

    How the brain controls our habits

    Habits are behaviors wired so deeply in our brains that we perform them automatically. This allows you to follow the same route to work every day without thinking about it, liberating your brain to ponder other things, such as what to make for…

  • calcium-qianchen

    Calcium reveals connections between neurons

    A team led by MIT neuroscientists has developed a way to monitor how brain cells coordinate with each other to control specific behaviors, such as initiating movement or detecting an odor.

    The researchers’ new imaging technique, …

  • Language-selective (red) and domain-general (blue) subregions of Broca's area shown in a few sample subjects. Image: Evelina Fedorenko, Nancy Kanwisher

    Brain’s language center has multiple roles

    A century and a half ago, French physician Pierre Paul Broca found that patients with damage to part of the brain’s frontal lobe were unable to speak more than a few words. Later dubbed Broca’s area, this region is believed to …

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