Research Topics

As this gallery of featured people and projects illustrates, Picower Institute scientists study brain structure and function at scales from genes and molecules to cells, circuits and regions. They also study the behaviors and cognitive processes that result, and seek to uncover how disruptions at different scales can result in developmental, psychiatric or neurodegenerative disorders. They employ—and often invent—the newest technologies in their work. To learn more about any of these specific areas, click "Research Topics" above, select areas of interest, and you'll find relevant Picower people, discoveries and events.

Neurons are fickle. Electric fields are more reliable for information.

March 14, 2022
Research Findings
A new study suggests that electric fields may represent information held in working memory, allowing the brain to overcome “representational drift,” or the inconsistent participation of individual neurons

The model remodeler

March 14, 2022
Research Feature
A Picower Institute primer on ‘plasticity,’ the brain’s amazing ability to constantly adapt to and learn from experience

A new “atlas” of cells that carry blood to the brain

February 14, 2022
Research Findings
Single-cell gene expression analyses of human cerebrovascular cells can help reveal new drug targets for Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

‘Traveling’ nature of brain waves may help working memory work

January 31, 2022
Research Findings
The act of holding information in mind is accompanied by coordination of rotating brain waves in the prefrontal cortex, a new study finds.

In Down syndrome cells, genome-wide disruptions mimic a senescence-like state

January 6, 2022
Research Findings
Extra chromosome alters chromosomal conformation and DNA accessibility across the whole genome in neural progenitor cells, disrupting gene transcription and cell functions much like in cellular aging.

Study reveals a protein’s key contribution to heterogeneity of neurons

November 29, 2021
Research Findings
Tomosyn’s tight regulation of neurotransmitter release distinguishes functions of two neuron classes at the fly neuromuscular junction

Study links gene to cognitive resilience in the elderly

November 3, 2021
Research Findings
The findings may help explain why some people who lead enriching lives are less prone to Alzheimer’s and age-related dementia

NIH award funds innovative investigation of neurodegenerative motor diseases

October 5, 2021
New Research
Large-scale, integrated application of advanced computational, biological techniques aims to discover mechanisms underlying ALS and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with motor neuron disease

'What Were you Thinking?'

September 20, 2021
Research Feature
How brain circuits integrate many sources of context to flexibly guide behavior

Novel approach reverses amblyopia in animals

September 1, 2021
Research Findings
By temporarily suspending retinal activity in the non-amblyopic eye of animal models, neuroscientists restrengthened the visual response in the amblyopic eye, even at ages after the critical period when patch therapy fails

Brain’s ‘memory center’ needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

July 26, 2021
Research Findings
The visual cortex stores and remembers individual images, but when they are grouped into a sequence, mice can’t recognize that without guidance from the hippocampus

Memory making involves extensive DNA breaking

July 6, 2021
Research Findings
To quickly express genes needed for learning and memory, brain cells snap both strands of DNA in many more places and cell types than previously realized, a new study shows