McGovern Institute researchers are leaders in their respective fields and conduct groundbreaking research into the brain. Our faculty include one Nobel laureate, six members of the National Academy of Sciences, and one recipient of the President’s National Medal of Science. Principal research scientists and fellows collaborate closely with the faculty, and participate in all the institute’s activities.
McGovern Institute faculty lead labs conducting groundbreaking research linked to the central mission of the institution. They also hold appointments in one or more academic departments at MIT.
Polina Anikeeva works at the intersection of materials science, electronics, and neurobiology to improve our understanding of disorders of the nervous system.
Emeritus Investigator Emilio Bizzi examined how the brain translates our general intentions into the detailed commands needed to control muscle movements.
Ed Boyden develops novel tools that image and map the activity of the brain with the aim of repairing neural circuits.
Emerita Investigator Martha Constantine-Paton studied the formation and modification of synapses in order to understand how experience shapes the wiring of the brain.
Director, McGovern Institute
Robert Desimone investigates the brain mechanisms that allow us to focus our attention on a specific task while filtering out distractions.
Jim DiCarlo and his team aim to understand how a complex network of brain regions underlies our ability to recognize vast numbers of objects and faces rapidly.
Ev Fedorenko studies the computations and brain regions that underlie language processing, including how those regions emerge and adapt to various circumstances.
Michale Fee studies birdsong in order to understand how the brain learns and generates complex sequential behaviors.
Guoping Feng studies the function of synapses and their disruption in animal models of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disease.
Ila Fiete uses theory, simulation, and analysis of neural data to uncover how dynamics and coding interact to enable computations involving memory and reasoning.
John Gabrieli uses imaging and behavioral tests to understand how the human brain powers learning, thinking, and feeling.
Ann Graybiel studies the neural basis of learning and action strategies relevant to decision-making, making and breaking habits, affective state, and brain disorders.
Mark Harnett studies how mammalian neurons process information and perform the complex computations that underlie behavior.
Hugh Herr marries human physiology with electromechanics to produce systems that emulate human biomechanics, improving mobility for those with paralysis and limb loss.
H. Robert Horvitz
H. Robert Horvitz identifies and analyzes molecular and cellular pathways linked to the development and behavior of the nematode C. elegans.
Alan Jasanoff develops and applies next generation imaging methods for studying the biology underlying behavior and cognition.
Mehrdad Jazayeri studies how neurons and circuits generate dynamic patterns of activity that result in flexible, goal-directed behavior.
Nancy Kanwisher studies the functional organization of the human brain as a window into the architecture of the mind.
Perceptual scientist Josh McDermott operates at the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, and engineering to study how people hear and interpret sound.
Tomaso Poggio develops models of brain function that illuminate human intelligence and builds intelligent machines that can mimic human performance.
Rebecca Saxe studies the neural basis of abstract thought, including how we assess the mental states of other people.
Nidhi Seethapathi builds predictive models of human movement using a combination of theory, computational modeling, and real-world experiments.
Fan Wang is uncovering the neural circuit mechanisms that govern sensory perception, pain, and behavior.
Guangyu Robert Yang
Robert Yang is a computational neuroscientist developing sophisticated neural network models with the goal of defining wholistic, integrative brain functions.
Feng Zhang discovers and develops CRISPR tools with the potential to diagnose and treat disease, including disorders affecting the nervous system.
Principal Research Scientists
Principal research scientists conduct independent research at the institute, and are selected on the basis of unique scholarly or technical contributions to research projects.
Satrajit Ghosh uses neuroimaging, speech communication, and machine learning to improve assessments and treatments for mental health.
Dimitrios Pantazis is responsible for the general operation of the MEG lab and the development of MEG imaging technology.
Ian Wickersham develops genetic techniques for neuroscience, to provide more powerful and precise ways to study the organization of the brain.
The McGovern Fellows program provides exceptionally talented recent doctoral graduates that are ready for leadership the rare opportunity to set up an independent research program.
Omar Abudayyeh develops new gene therapy technologies based on bacterial systems, using these tools to study the aging brain.
Jonathan Gootenberg explores biological diversity to develop tools for understanding and treating age-related disease.