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Call for Nominations: 2020 Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience

The McGovern Institute is now accepting nominations for the Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience, which recognizes an outstanding discovery or significant advance in any field of neuroscience, until December 15, 2019. About the Scolnick Prize The prize is named in honor of Edward M. Scolnick, who stepped down as president of Merck Research Laboratories in December […]

Finding the brain’s compass

The world is constantly bombarding our senses with information, but the ways in which our brain extracts meaning from this information remains elusive. How do neurons transform raw visual input into a mental representation of an object – like a chair or a dog? In work published today in Nature Neuroscience, MIT neuroscientists have identified […]

Do thoughts have mass?

As part of our Ask the Brain series, we received the question, “Do thoughts have mass?” The following is a guest blog post by Michal De-Medonsa, technical associate and manager of the Jazayeri lab, who tapped into her background in philosophy to answer this intriguing question. _____ To answer the question, “Do thoughts have mass?” […]

Brain region linked to altered social interactions in autism model

Although psychiatric disorders can be linked to particular genes, the brain regions and mechanisms underlying particular disorders are not well-understood. Mutations or deletions of the SHANK3 gene are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a related rare disorder called Phelan-McDermid syndrome. Mice with SHANK3 mutations also display some of the traits associated with […]

Four new faces in the School of Science faculty

This fall, the School of Science will welcome four new members joining the faculty in the departments of Biology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Chemistry. Evelina Fedorenko investigates how our brains process language. She has developed novel analytic approaches for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other brain imaging techniques to help answer the questions […]

Ed Boyden wins premier Royal Society honor

Edward S. Boyden, the Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology at MIT, has been awarded the 2019 Croonian Medal and Lecture by the Royal Society. Twenty-four medals and awards are announced by the Royal Society each year, honoring exceptional researchers who are making outstanding contributions to science. “The Royal Society gives an array of medals […]

Ed Boyden receives 2019 Warren Alpert Prize

The 2019 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize has been awarded to four scientists, including Ed Boyden, for pioneering work that launched the field of optogenetics, a technique that uses light-sensitive channels and pumps to control the activity of neurons in the brain with a flick of a switch. He receives the prize alongside Karl Deisseroth, Peter […]

How expectation influences perception

For decades, research has shown that our perception of the world is influenced by our expectations. These expectations, also called “prior beliefs,” help us make sense of what we are perceiving in the present, based on similar past experiences. Consider, for instance, how a shadow on a patient’s X-ray image, easily missed by a less […]

New CRISPR platform expands RNA editing capabilities

CRISPR-based tools have revolutionized our ability to target disease-linked genetic mutations. CRISPR technology comprises a growing family of tools that can manipulate genes and their expression, including by targeting DNA with the enzymes Cas9 and Cas12 and targeting RNA with the enzyme Cas13. This collection offers different strategies for tackling mutations. Targeting disease-linked mutations in […]

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