McGovern Minutes

Doing brain research is hard. Explaining it in 60 seconds or less is even harder.

At the McGovern Institute, scientists from all over the world are studying how brain cells work, and how they come together to influence our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. But research at the McGovern Institute is more than just neuroscience. It’s biology, math, tool-building, computer science, genetics, engineering, social science — even video-game programming.

Explore this page to meet a selection of young McGovern scientists who are using different tools to unlock the mystery of the brain. With only 60 seconds to communicate their work and inspire the next generation of STEM researchers, these scientists paint a compelling picture of brain research at MIT (in less time than it takes to brush their teeth).

Dana Boebinger studies the neural mechanisms of perception and in this video, she explains why our brains sometimes perceive color (and sound) differently.

As a teenager, Kian Caplan was diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, and Tourette syndrome. Today, he is on a quest to understand what makes his brain different — and to recruit other neurodiverse students to study the brain.

Jessica Chomik-Morales is a brain scientist and host of the Spanish neuroscience podcast Mi Ultima Neurona. By interviewing neuroscientists of different Hispanic origins, she hopes to inspire the next generation of Spanish-speaking scientists.

As a young child growing up in Mexico, Fernanda De La Torre crossed the border with her family because they imagined a better future for themselves in America. Now, she uses math to understand how the brain distinguishes imagination from reality.

Malik and Miles George are on a mission to spread science advocacy and diversity to students of all ages. The fraternal twins bring their signature style and infectious humor to this Minute, where they list the top five reasons to study the brain.

Each cell in our body contains six feet of DNA. Paul Reginato has developed a technology that allows researchers to untangle this bundle and read the letters of DNA inside the cell.

As a teenager, Omar Rutledge was a US infantry soldier in Iraq. Now, he wants to understand how trauma changes the brain, and he hopes to develop better treatments for people struggling with mental health.

Ashley Thomas has begun to unlock the mystery of babies’ brains using a very unusual tool: puppets. By observing how babies respond to puppets in various situations, Ashley shows us that babies understand a surprising amount about the social world around them.

Quique Toloza was obsessed with video games as a kid — so obsessed, he built a computer and programmed video games based on his own wild imagination. Now, he’s a physicist who builds computer models of the brain.

Tingting Zhou is repairing the abnormal genes and brain circuits linked to schizophrenia, with hopes of one day solving the mystery of this devastating disorder.