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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 […]


The promise of gene therapy

As we start 2024, I hope you can join me in celebrating a historic recent advance: the FDA approval of Casgevy, a bold new treatment for devastating sickle cell disease and the world’s first approved CRISPR gene therapy. Developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics, we are proud to share that this pioneering therapy licenses […]


Complex, unfamiliar sentences make the brain’s language network work harder

With help from an artificial language network, MIT neuroscientists have discovered what kind of sentences are most likely to fire up the brain’s key language processing centers. The new study reveals that sentences that are more complex, either because of unusual grammar or unexpected meaning, generate stronger responses in these language processing centers. Sentences that […]


Deep neural networks show promise as models of human hearing

Computational models that mimic the structure and function of the human auditory system could help researchers design better hearing aids, cochlear implants, and brain-machine interfaces. A new study from MIT has found that modern computational models derived from machine learning are moving closer to this goal. In the largest study yet of deep neural networks […]


Season’s Greetings from the McGovern Institute

This year’s holiday greeting (video above) was inspired by research conducted in John Gabrieli’s lab, which found that practicing mindfulness reduced children’s stress levels and negative emotions during the pandemic. These findings contribute to a growing body of evidence that practicing mindfulness can change patterns of brain activity associated with emotions and mental health. Coloring […]


A mindful McGovern community

Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining a state of complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. McGovern researchers have shown that practicing mindfulness reduces anxiety and supports emotional resilience. In a survey distributed to the McGovern Institute community, 57% of the 74 researchers, faculty, and staff who responded, said that they […]


K. Lisa Yang Postbaccalaureate Program names new scholars

Funded by philanthropist Lisa Yang, the K. Lisa Yang Postbaccalaureate Scholar Program provides two years of paid laboratory experience, mentorship, and education to recent college graduates from backgrounds underrepresented in neuroscience. This year, two young researchers in McGovern Institute labs, Joseph Itiat and Sam Merrow, are the recipients of the Yang postbac program. Itiat moved […]


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