Picower Institute for Learning and Memory

The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory is an interdisciplinary research entity within MIT's School of Science, with faculty members holding academic appointments in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the Department of Biology, or both.

The Picower Institute's mission is to unravel the mechanisms that drive human learning and memory, as well as related functions such as perception, attention, and consciousness. The institute offers exciting research opportunities from undergraduate to postdoctoral levels in molecular, cellular, and genetic biology, as well as in systems biology, which explores the cognitive system at the neural circuit and systems level.

Picower Institute investigators explore:

  • How memory is formed through genetic, molecular, and cellular neural circuits and neural systems
  • How memories of personal experiences are used in daily life and in dreams
  • How neurons form synaptic connections and how those connections transmit information and change with experience
  • The surprising ability of certain species to grow new brain cells in adulthood and the extraordinary plasticity or adaptability of the developing and adult brain
  • The intricacies underlying the executive functions of the cerebral cortex

The institute's highly collaborative, cross-disciplinary strategy spawns exciting joint projects among its various laboratories. Many Picower faculty also are inventors of unique technologies and techniques that are redefining the practice of neuroscience.

Key Picower Institute discoveries are shedding light on disorders ranging from mental retardation and autism to Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, epilepsy, brain injury, and stroke.

For further information, contact the director, Professor Li-Huei Tsai, Room 46-4235A, 617-324-1660.