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Imaging method reveals new cells and structures in human brain tissue

Using a novel microscopy technique, MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School researchers have imaged human brain tissue in greater detail than ever before, revealing cells and structures that were not previously visible. Among their findings, the researchers discovered that some “low-grade” brain tumors contain more putative aggressive tumor cells than expected, suggesting that […]


Simons Center’s collaborative approach propels autism research, at MIT and beyond

The secret to the success of MIT’s Simons Center for the Social Brain is in the name. With a founding philosophy of “collaboration and community” that has supported scores of scientists across more than a dozen Boston-area research institutions, the SCSB advances research by being inherently social. SCSB’s mission is “to understand the neural mechanisms […]


Do we only use 10 percent of our brain?

Movies like “Limitless” and “Lucy” play on the notion that humans use only 10 percent of their brains—and those who unlock a higher percentage wield powers like infinite memory or telekinesis. It’s enticing to think that so much of the brain remains untapped and is ripe for boosting human potential. But the idea that we […]


The brain runs an internal simulation to keep track of time

Clocks, computers, and metronomes can keep time with exquisite precision. But even in the absence of an external time keeper, we can track time on our own. We know when minutes or hours have elapsed, and we can maintain a rhythm when we dance, sing, or play music. Now, neuroscientists at the National Autonomous University […]


Margaret Livingstone awarded the 2024 Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience

Today the McGovern Institute at MIT announces that the 2024 Edward M. Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience will be awarded to Margaret Livingstone, Takeda Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. The Scolnick Prize is awarded annually by the McGovern Institute, for outstanding achievements in neuroscience. “Margaret Livingstone’s driven curiosity and original experimental approaches have led […]


How the brain responds to reward is linked to socioeconomic background

MIT neuroscientists have found that the brain’s sensitivity to rewarding experiences — a critical factor in motivation and attention — can be shaped by socioeconomic conditions. In a study of 12 to 14-year-olds whose socioeconomic status (SES) varied widely, the researchers found that children from lower SES backgrounds showed less sensitivity to reward than those […]


Study reveals a universal pattern of brain wave frequencies

Throughout the brain’s cortex, neurons are arranged in six distinctive layers, which can be readily seen with a microscope. A team of MIT and Vanderbilt University neuroscientists has now found that these layers also show distinct patterns of electrical activity, which are consistent over many brain regions and across several animal species, including humans. The […]


Calling neurons to attention

The world assaults our senses, exposing us to more noise and color and scents and sensations than we can fully comprehend. Our brains keep us tuned in to what’s important, letting less relevant sights and sounds fade into the background while we focus on the most salient features of our surroundings. Now, scientists at MIT’s […]


Mapping healthy cells’ connections in the brain

A new tool developed by researchers at MIT’s McGovern Institute gives neuroscientists the power to find connected neurons within the brain’s tangled network of cells, and then follow or manipulate those neurons over a prolonged period. Its development, led by Principal Research Scientist Ian Wickersham, transforms a powerful tool for exploring the anatomy of the […]


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