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AF Harvey Prize Lecture

The prize recognizes outstanding contributions to research in the field of medical engineering. Boyden was awarded the prize for his pioneering research contributions to the field of optogenetics, in which neurons are genetically modified to respond to light. He presented his prize lecture at the McGovern Institute on October 22, 2012.

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, based on the detection of calcium ions in neurons, could help them map the brain circuits that perform such […]

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 be critical for speech production and some aspects of language comprehension. However, in recent […]

Brain Scan Cover Image: Spring 2012

To win at cards, players must understand the beliefs and intentions of their opponents, an ability known as “Theory of Mind.” Rebecca Saxe studies the brain mechanisms that underlie this quintessentially human ability.

Mehrdad Jazayeri to join McGovern Institute faculty

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Mehrdad Jazayeri as an Investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. He will join the institute in January 2013, with a faculty appointment as assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

Martha Constantine-Paton wins lifetime achievement award

Constantine-Paton, a leading figure in the field of developmental neuroscience, has been awarded the Society for Neuroscience’s Mika Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes individuals with outstanding career achievements in neuroscience who have also actively promoted the professional advancement of women in neuroscience. Constantine-Paton will be recognized for her achievements during the Society for […]

Predicting how patients respond to therapy

Social anxiety is usually treated with either cognitive behavioral therapy or medications. However, it is currently impossible to predict which treatment will work best for a particular patient. The team of researchers from MIT, Boston University (BU) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that the effectiveness of therapy could be predicted by measuring patients’ brain […]

Stroke disrupts how brain controls muscle synergies

The simple act of picking up a pencil requires the coordination of dozens of muscles: The eyes and head must turn toward the object as the hand reaches forward and the fingers grasp it. To make this job more manageable, the brain’s motor cortex has implemented a system of shortcuts. Instead of controlling each muscle […]

Thinking about others is not child’s play

When you try to read other people’s thoughts, or guess why they are behaving a certain way, you employ a skill known as theory of mind. This skill, as measured by false-belief tests, takes time to develop: In children, it doesn’t start appearing until the age of 4 or 5. Several years ago, MIT neuroscientist […]

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