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Mark Harnett receives a 2019 McKnight Scholar Award

McGovern Institute investigator Mark Harnett is one of six young researchers selected to receive a prestigious 2019 McKnight Scholar Award. The award supports his research “studying how dendrites, the antenna-like input structures of neurons, contribute to computation in neural networks.” Harnett examines the biophysical properties of single neurons, ultimately aiming to understand how these relate […]


A chemical approach to imaging cells from the inside

A team of researchers at the McGovern Institute and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have developed a new technique for mapping cells. The approach, called DNA microscopy, shows how biomolecules such as DNA and RNA are organized in cells and tissues, revealing spatial and molecular information that is not easily accessible through other microscopy […]


Using gene editing, neuroscientists develop a new model for autism

Using the genome-editing system CRISPR, researchers at MIT and in China have engineered macaque monkeys to express a gene mutation linked to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders in humans. These monkeys show some behavioral traits and brain connectivity patterns similar to those seen in humans with these conditions. Mouse studies of autism and other neurodevelopmental […]


How we tune out distractions

Imagine trying to focus on a friend’s voice at a noisy party, or blocking out the phone conversation of the person sitting next to you on the bus while you try to read. Both of these tasks require your brain to somehow suppress the distracting signal so you can focus on your chosen input. MIT […]


Postcards from the Brain

Postcards from the brain “Postcards from the Brain” is an illustrative journey, inspired by NASA and the National Park Service featuring brain regions studied by McGovern researchers and created by NYC artist Joseph Laney. Order and Share To order your own McGovern brain postcards, contact our colleagues at the MIT Museum, where proceeds will support […]


New gene-editing system precisely inserts large DNA sequences into cellular DNA

A team led by researchers from Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, has characterized and engineered a new gene-editing system that can precisely and efficiently insert large DNA sequences into a genome. The system, harnessed from cyanobacteria and called CRISPR-associated transposase (CAST), allows efficient introduction of DNA while […]


Our brains appear uniquely tuned for musical pitch

In the eternal search for understanding what makes us human, scientists found that our brains are more sensitive to pitch, the harmonic sounds we hear when listening to music, than our evolutionary relative the macaque monkey. The study, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, highlights the promise of Sound Health, a joint […]


Antenna-like inputs unexpectedly active in neural computation

Most neurons have many branching extensions called dendrites that receive input from thousands of other neurons. Dendrites aren’t just passive information-carriers, however. According to a new study from MIT, they appear to play a surprisingly large role in neurons’ ability to translate incoming signals into electrical activity. Neuroscientists had previously suspected that dendrites might be […]


Sparking discussion

Frontiers in Autism Research Scientific Retreat 2019 The retreat has two sessions revolving around sparking discussions, finding new solutions and research directions, and generating collaboration. Breakout sessions Two group discussions of challenges and ways forward around two important topics in autism research will run in parallel. More information about breakout session topics can be found […]


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