Tag: McGovern Institute

A key brain region responds to faces similarly in infants and adults

Within the visual cortex of the adult brain, a small region is specialized to respond to faces, while nearby regions show strong preferences for bodies or for scenes such as landscapes. Neuroscientists have long hypothesized that it takes many years of visual experience for these areas to develop in children. However, a new MIT study […]

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Study finds a striking difference between neurons of humans and other mammals

Neurons communicate with each other via electrical impulses, which are produced by ion channels that control the flow of ions such as potassium and sodium. In a surprising new finding, MIT neuroscientists have shown that human neurons have a much smaller number of these channels than expected, compared to the neurons of other mammals. The […]

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Giving robots social skills

Robots can deliver food on a college campus and hit a hole-in-one on the golf course, but even the most sophisticated robot can’t perform basic social interactions that are critical to everyday human life. MIT researchers have now incorporated certain social interactions into a framework for robotics, enabling machines to understand what it means to […]

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Artificial intelligence sheds light on how the brain processes language

In the past few years, artificial intelligence models of language have become very good at certain tasks. Most notably, they excel at predicting the next word in a string of text; this technology helps search engines and texting apps predict the next word you are going to type. The most recent generation of predictive language […]

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Five with MIT ties elected to the National Academy of Medicine for 2021

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has announced the election of 100 new members for 2021, including two MIT faculty members and three additional Institute affiliates. Faculty honorees include Linda G. Griffith, a professor in the MIT departments of Biological Engineering and Mechanical Engineering; and Feng Zhang, a professor in the MIT departments of Brain […]

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Artificial networks learn to smell like the brain

Using machine learning, a computer model can teach itself to smell in just a few minutes. When it does, researchers have found, it builds a neural network that closely mimics the olfactory circuits that animal brains use to process odors. Animals from fruit flies to humans all use essentially the same strategy to process olfactory […]

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How the brain deals with uncertainty

As we interact with the world, we are constantly presented with information that is unreliable or incomplete — from jumbled voices in a crowded room to solicitous strangers with unknown motivations. Fortunately, our brains are well equipped to evaluate the quality of the evidence we use to make decisions, usually allowing us to act deliberately, […]

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New integrative computational neuroscience center established at MIT’s McGovern Institute

With the tools of modern neuroscience, researchers can peer into the brain with unprecedented accuracy. Recording devices listen in on the electrical conversations between neurons, picking up the voices of hundreds of cells at a time. Genetic tools allow us to focus on specific types of neurons based on their molecular signatures. Microscopes zoom in […]

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Seven from MIT receive National Institutes of Health awards for 2021

On Oct. 5, the National Institutes of Health announced the names of 106 scientists who have been awarded grants through the High-Risk, High-Reward Research program to advance highly innovative biomedical and behavioral research. Seven of the recipients are MIT faculty members. The High-Risk, High-Reward Research program catalyzes scientific discovery by supporting research proposals that, due […]

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New bionics center established at MIT with $24 million gift

A deepening understanding of the brain has created unprecedented opportunities to alleviate the challenges posed by disability. Scientists and engineers are taking design cues from biology itself to create revolutionary technologies that restore the function of bodies affected by injury, aging, or disease — from prosthetic limbs that effortlessly navigate tricky terrain to digital nervous […]

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RNA-targeting enzyme expands the CRISPR toolkit

Researchers at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research have discovered a bacterial enzyme that they say could expand scientists’ CRISPR toolkit, making it easy to cut and edit RNA with the kind of precision that, until now, has only been available for DNA editing. The enzyme, called Cas7-11, modifies RNA targets without harming cells, suggesting […]

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New programmable gene editing proteins found outside of CRISPR systems

Within the last decade, scientists have adapted CRISPR systems from microbes into gene editing technology, a precise and programmable system for modifying DNA. Now, scientists at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have discovered a new class of programmable DNA modifying systems called OMEGAs (Obligate Mobile Element […]

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