Lifting the Veil on Neurons that Assign Good or Bad Associations to our Environment

Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 2:00 pm EDT
Meet the Scientist - August 2018

Learning to associate pleasure with a tasty food, or aversion to a foul-tasting one, is a primal function key to survival. Dr. Tye will take us on an unprecedentedly deep dive into the inner workings of a particular section of the brain called the basolateral amygdala. The researchers in her lab show how valence-processing circuitry is organized and how key neurons in those circuits interact with others. What they reveal is a region with distinct but diverse and dynamic neighborhoods where valence is sorted out both by connecting with other brain regions, and also by sparking cross-talk within the basolateral amygdala itself.

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Presented by 
Kay Tye, Expert on Anxiety and Autism
Kay M. Tye, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Associate Professor

Principal Investigator

Whitehead Professorship Chair

Scientific Council Member (Joined 2016)

2016 Freedman Prizewinner for Exceptional Basic Research

2013 Young Investigator Grant

Kay M. Tye, Ph.D., received her bachelor’s degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from MIT in 2003 and earned her Ph.D. in 2008 at UCSF with Patricia Janak. Her thesis work was supported by the National Science Foundation and recognized with the Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience as well as the Weintraub Award in Biosciences. She completed her postdoctoral training with Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University in 2011, with support from an NRSA from NIMH.

She joined the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and The Picower Institute at MIT in 2012, and has since been recognized with the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Technology Review’s Top 35 Innovators under 35, and has been named a Whitehall, Klingenstein and Sloan Foundation Fellow.

“The NARSAD Young Investigator Award was critical in helping me launch my career as an independent investigator and pursue research on the neural circuitry underlying behaviors relevant to mental illness. This knowledge will hopefully facilitate the development of more efficacious treatments that have fewer side effects.” 

Moderated by 
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

President and CEO

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy Award-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host of the series. The program, which is broadcast nationwide, focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association and as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.