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.

Scientists identify specific brain region and circuits controlling attention

November 2, 2020
Research Findings
Study shows that norepinephrine producing neurons in the locus coeruleus produce attention focus, impulse control via two distinct connections to prefrontal cortex

Neuroscientists discover a molecular mechanism that allows memories to form

October 5, 2020
Research Findings
Modifications to chromosomes in “engram” neurons control the encoding and retrieval of memories

From Biological Intelligence to Artificial Intelligence

September 17, 2020
Research Feature
How basic neuroscience research by Picower faculty has mattered to AI

Live imaging method brings structural information to mapping of brain function

September 17, 2020
Research Findings
Scientists distinguish brain regions based on what they do, but now have a new way to overlay information about how they are built

As information flows through brain’s heirarchy, higher regions use higher frequency waves

September 8, 2020
Research Findings
Study also finds specific frequency bands associated with encoding, or inhibiting encoding, of sensory information across the cortex

Math shows how brain stays stable amid internal noise and a widely varying world

August 10, 2020
Research Findings
Theoretical framework shows that many properties of neural connections help biological circuits produce consistent computations

To distinguish contexts, animals think probabilistically, study suggests

August 3, 2020
Research Findings
A new statistical model may help scientists understand how animals make inferences about whether their surroundings are novel or haven’t changed enough to be a new context

Neural vulnerability in Huntington’s disease tied to release of mitochondrial RNA

July 17, 2020
Research Findings
Unique survey of gene expression by cell type in humans and mice reveals several deficits affecting the most vulnerable neurons

Findings weaken notion that size equals strength for neural connections

June 30, 2020
Research Findings
Among study’s many surprises may be a new way to address Fragile X syndrome – by finding a “Protein X”

The story behind the science: How discovery develops

June 25, 2020
News Feature
An inside look at a key paper illustrates what it can take to publish new knowledge

Study finds path for addressing Alzheimer’s blood-brain barrier impairment

June 8, 2020
Research Findings
MIT researchers pinpoint mechanism and demonstrate drugs could help

Scientists find a new way to reverse symptoms of Fragile X

May 20, 2020
Research Findings
Drug compound, tested in mice, could be effective in treating the leading heritable cause of intellectual disability and autism