Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Brain & Cognitive Sciences

The mission of the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences is to reverse engineer the human mind. To do that we delve deeply into the mechanisms of the brain at all levels — from molecules to synapses to neurons to circuits to algorithms to human behavior and cognition, we build links between those levels, and we train the next generation of scientific leaders. Our headquarters, Building 46, is home to the collaborative, interdisciplinary spirit that inspired our beginnings in 1964 and still guides us today.

We are committed to nurturing a diverse and innovative scientific community, one that thrives at the intersection of cognitive science, systems neuroscience, cellular and molecular neuroscience, and computation. Through our research initiatives, we strive to deeply understand human cognitive functions such as vision, audition, speech, movement, attention, learning and memory.

We are stewards of a legacy of academic excellence, and feel a responsibility to train the next generation of leaders in brain and cognitive sciences. Through our undergraduate and graduate programs, our students are trained by world-renowned faculty, have access to state-of-the-art equipment, and seize remarkable opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research projects.  

We may have the chance – within our lifetimes – to uncover answers to some of the biggest questions about how the brain gives rise to the mind. We are entering an age in which we are likely to make dramatic progress in our understanding of the mechanisms behind conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, Parkinson’s Disease, and transformative advances in brain inspired computing, education, and human decision making. 

Great progress has been made, and, with our partners in MIT science and engineering, new tools and techniques continue to come online and further accelerate that progress.  This is the next frontier. We have an opportunity to seize this moment and, perhaps, to change human history.  


Selected Awards and Honors

  • Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE),
  • Kavli Prize, Ann M Graybiel
  • Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), Laura E Schulz