The mission of the Simons Center for the Social Brain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), directed by Mriganka Sur, is to understand the neural mechanisms underlying social cognition and behavior, and to translate this knowledge into better diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
Neural correlates of social cognition and behavior exist in a diverse array of species, and the researchers at the center aim to study these neural correlates in humans and relevant model organisms and systems. Experimental approaches will take advantage of MIT’s strength in genetics and genomics, molecular and cell biology, analyses of neural circuits and systems, cognitive psychology, mathematics and engineering.
The center’s goals are to develop MIT‐wide programs on genetics and gene discovery, mechanisms and models, cognitive neuroscience, and translation and therapeutics. Through the development of new tools and technologies, and the advancement of new computational and theoretical approaches, MIT researchers are ready to make unique contributions to the understanding of autism and related brain disorders.
The center will support these programs and themes through seed funds for investigators proposing novel collaborative research, a program for postdoctoral fellows, and support for graduate students and undergraduate researchers. In addition, it aims to develop a technology innovation hub and create collaborative teams around projects that target particular subtypes of autism, using multiple approaches and analyses.