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.

Anesthesia doesn't simply turn off the brain, it changes its rhythms

April 27, 2021
Research Findings
Simultaneous measurement of neural rhythms and spikes across five brain areas in animals reveals how propofol induces unconsciousness

Mice naturally engage in physical distancing, study finds

March 31, 2021
Research Findings
MIT neuroscientists have identified a brain circuit that stops mice from mating with others that appear to be sick

Study of synapse strength focuses on ‘active zones’

March 16, 2021
New Research
With new NIH grant, team will learn how neurons build key sites that release neurotransmitters a lot, or a little, to drive nervous system communication

Neural networks need more than neurons, new project posits

March 4, 2021
New Research
With a new grant from the U.S. Army, a team of scientists will seek to enhance artificial intelligence by integrating brain cells called astrocytes

Study offers an explanation for why the APOE4 gene enhances Alzheimer’s risk

March 3, 2021
Research Findings
The gene variant disrupts lipid metabolism, but in cell experiments the effects were reversed by choline supplements

As you look around, mental images bounce between right and left brain

February 8, 2021
Research Findings
New study explains how the brain helps us remember what we’ve seen, even as it shifts around in our visual system

Neuroscientists identify brain circuit that encodes timing of events

January 11, 2021
Research Findings
Findings suggest this hippocampal circuit helps us to maintain our timeline of memories.

Playing chess, not checkers: Neurons dynamically control their myelin patterns

December 18, 2020
Research Findings
Researchers identify a new level of complexity in how the brain responds to stimuli

Genes & Disease

December 14, 2020
Research Feature
Picower scientists are making the dauntingly long but highly motivating climb between associating a gene with disease and developing potential treatments.

‘SCOUT’ helps researchers find, quantify significant differences among organoids

December 8, 2020
Research Findings
Unbiased, high-throughput analysis pipeline improves utility of ‘minibrains’ for understanding development and diseases such as Zika infection

Brain waves guide us in spotlighting surprises

November 23, 2020
Research Findings
The brain uses different frequency rhythms and cortical layers to suppress expected stimulation and increase activity for what’s novel

Down syndrome symposium highlights clinical, fundamental progress

November 20, 2020
Recent Events
Speakers describe studies to address Alzheimer’s disease, sleep apnea and to advance fundamental discoveries in cell and chromosome biology