Carney Institute for Brain Science
Center for Computational Brain Science


Latest news and upcoming events from the Center for Computational Brain Science.

Recent News

Carney Institute for Brain Science

Carney professor wins $100,000 in MIT’s biotech startup award program

In 1999, an MIT study on the status of women faculty in science showed that less than ten percent of the 250 biotech startups created by MIT professors were founded by women, even though 22 percent of MIT faculty are women. To help turn this tide and increase the number of female-founded biotech startups, MIT launched the Faculty Founder Initiative in 2020. Assistant professor of brain science Frederike Petzschner was named as one of two runners-up in this year’s competition, garnering a $100,000 award. She and professor of neuroscience Stephanie Jones were among the competitors lauded at this year’s award ceremony held at MIT’s Broad Institute on May 2.
How does dopamine help us make important decisions? What kinds of learning scenarios best enable us to become proficient at something? And why does overthinking sometimes hinder learning? Professor Michael Frank’s lab has published scholarship that responds to these questions. The Director of Carney’s Center for Computational Brain Science, Frank’s research combines computational modeling and experimental work to understand the neural mechanisms underlying reinforcement learning, decision making and cognitive control.
This year, participants were provided with electrical brain activity and clinical scores of 172 clinically depressed patients both pre and post treatment with TMS from Linda Carpenter’s Lab at the Butler Hospital. The investigators’ main challenge was to predict, based on electroencephalogram data from the first treatment session, if a patient would respond to TMS treatment. In practice, these predictions would be able to determine which patients would be the best candidates for and most responsive to TMS treatment for depression.