Ann Graybiel studies the basal ganglia, forebrain structures that are profoundly important for normal brain function. Dysfunction in these regions is implicated in neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders ranging from Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease to obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression, and addiction. Graybiel’s laboratory is uncovering circuits underlying both the neural deficits related to these disorders, as well as the role that the basal ganglia play in guiding normal learning, motivation, and behavior.
Graybiel’s team uses electrical recordings, fiber photometry and 2-photon microscopy, dopamine release measurements and behavioral tests, and genetic engineering in mice to study the functions of the basal ganglia, a large region in the forebrain that has been linked to disorders ranging from Parkinson’s disease to OCD, autism spectrum disorders, depression, stress-related disorders, and addictive behaviors. Projects in the lab focus on discovering neural mechanisms underlying motivationally based decision-making, and habit-learning. The lab examines how these networks connect to the action systems of the brain to build up our behaviors and habits, as well as how they work in decision-making under conditions of motivational conflict such as cost-benefit conflict.
The processes examined by the Graybiel laboratory are linked to neurochemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, and they are also interested in therapeutics, for example through development of chronic drug delivery systems.
Ann Graybiel ’71 joined the MIT faculty in 1973, where she is a member of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and an Institute Professor, the highest academic award at MIT. In 2001, she was appointed Investigator at the McGovern Institute.
Honors and Awards
Member, National Academy of Sciences
Member, National Academy of Medicine
Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Member, Royal Academy of Medicine, Spain
Foreign Member, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
Member, American Philosophical Society
Fellow, American Academy of Neurology
Former President, International Basal Ganglia Society
Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Honorary Doctor of Medical Science, Queens University, Belfast
Harold S. Diamond Honorary Professorship, National Parkinson’s Foundation
Honorary Doctor of Science, Tuft’s University
Honorary Doctor of Science, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York
Gruber Neuroscience Prize, 2018
Diana Helis Henry and Adrienne Helis Malvin Joint Lecture Series on Parkinson’s Disease, 2015
Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, 2012
Honorary Member Award, Int’l Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, 2010
Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science, 2008
Marsden Lectureship Award, Movement Disorder Society, 2008
NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Award, 2007
Prix Plasticité Neuronale, IPSEN Foundation, 2005
Woman Leader of Parkinson’s Science Award, 2004
Radcliffe Alumni Recognition Award, 2004
James R. Killian Faculty Achievement Award, 2002
Robert S. Dow Neuroscience Award, 2002
Outstanding Women in Neuroscience Award, Brown University, 2001
National Medal of Science, 2001
Teaching Prize for Excellence in Graduate Education, School of Science, MIT, 2000
Ann Graybiel wins 2018 Gruber Prize
Graybiel was recognized for her pioneering work on the complexity and function of the basal ganglia.