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Our Mission

The central mission of our work is to understand motivations to comprehend, predict, and shape the world -- aspiration, curiosity, anxiety -- as biological and mental phenomena:

  • dynamic neural contexts that influence learning and memory formation

  • emerging from momentary changes in molecular traffic  brain architecture

  • regulated by memory and prior learning experiences

and then to harness this understanding to improve human well-being and achievement.


We want to understand how neurobiological networks for motivation respond during our interactions with the world and other people, and how these networks, in turn, optimize learning. 


The neural systems we study are the targets of many pharmacotherapies. Our work thus has the potential to yield methods for enhancing learning-based therapies and new biological targets.


By understanding how to use behavior to change biology,  we aim to meet the challenge of developing new therapies appropriate for early intervention.

Animation designed by Janet Iwasa, 1 μm Illustration

Our Funding 

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