The inseparable connection between our brain and body has been increasingly recognized by researchers and clinicians in recent years. is shown. This means that your mental state can affect your physical health, and vice versa. But how the two interact is less clear.
New research center at MIT, funded by philanthropist K. Lisa Yang’s $38 million donation to the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, will investigate multidirectional, multistep interactions between the brain and other cells We aim to solve this mystery by creating and applying new tools for body organ system. This donation extends Yang’s extraordinary philanthropic support for human health and basic science research at MIT over the past five years.
“Lisa Yang’s visionary talents will enable MIT scientists and engineers to pioneer innovative techniques and rigorously investigate the complex relationships between the brain and other organ systems.” MIT President L. Rafael Leaf said. “Lisa’s tremendous generosity will empower MIT scientists to make pivotal breakthroughs in brain and biomedical research to massively improve human health as a whole.”
The K. Lisa Yang Brain-Body Center will be directed by Polina Anikeeva, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Research Fellow at the McGovern Institute. With the goal of unearthing knowledge of the biological mechanisms that lead to promising therapeutic options, the center is a collaborative multidisciplinary effort at MIT to focus on complex conditions and diseases that affect both the body and the brain. Harness the power of the global life sciences research and engineering community.
“Under Professor Anikeeva’s incredible leadership, this wellspring of resources will promote the best work of MIT faculty, graduate students, and research, ultimately making a real impact on the lives of many.” adds Life.
The first projects at the Center will focus on four main research areas:
- Gutbrain: Anikeeva’s group expands the toolbox of new techniques and applies these tools to investigate key neurobiological questions. On gut-brain pathways and connections in the context of autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and affective disorders.
- Aging: CRISPR pioneer Feng Zhang, James and Patricia Poitras Professor of Neuroscience at MIT and investigator at the McGovern Institute, describes precise epigenome editing and the ‘errors’ of accumulated time, injury, or illness. I lead a group developing molecular tools for erasing . different types of cells and tissues.
- Pain: McGovern Institute researcher and professor of brain and cognitive science Huang Wang’s lab studies autonomic responses, sympathetic-parasympathetic balance, and brain-autonomic nervous system interactions Design new tools and imaging methods for influence these interactions.
- Acupuncture: Wang has also collaborated with Hilda (“Scooter”) Holcombe, a veterinarian in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Comparative Medicine, to advance techniques for recording acupuncture-induced brain and peripheral tissue changes in mouse models. increase. If successful, these techniques could lay the foundation for a better understanding of the mechanisms of acupuncture, particularly how treatments stimulate the nervous system and restore function.
A key component of the K. Lisa Yang Brain-Body Center will focus on educating and training the brightest young people aspiring to bring real breakthroughs for people suffering from complex and often devastating diseases. That’s it. A portion of the center’s funds will be donated to her new K. Lisa Yang Brain-Body Fellows Program. The program supports her four annual fellowships for graduate students and postdocs at MIT who work to advance our understanding of conditions that affect both the body and the brain.
Mens sana in corpore sano
“A phrase I remember reading in secondary school has always stuck in my mind: mens sana in corpore sano. — ‘a There is a healthy mind in a healthy body,” says Lisa Yang, a former investment banker who has worked to advocate for individuals with visible and invisible disabilities. “When we look at how stress, nutrition, pain, immunity, and other complex factors affect our health, we see how closely connected our brains and bodies are. , I hope to help MIT scientists and engineers decipher these connections and make real strides in creating therapeutic strategies that lead to longer, healthier lives.”
“This center is a unique opportunity for a lab like mine to do bold, risky research into the intricacies of brain-body connectivity,” says Anikeeva, who works at the intersection of materials science, electronics and neurobiology. says. “The K. Lisa Yang Brain-Body Center offers a breakthrough holistic approach that bridges multiple research areas. It will undoubtedly lead to revolutionary advances in our understanding of , and a bold new way of thinking about how we approach human health in general.”