12 Facts About Ann Graybiel


Ann Martin Graybiel was born on 1942 and is an Institute Professor and a faculty member in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Ann Graybiel is an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research.


For much of her career, Graybiel has focused on the physiology of the striatum, a basal ganglia structure implicated in the control of movement, cognition, habit formation, and decision-making.


Ann Graybiel found that neurons project from areas in the sensory and motor cortices governing the same body part and cluster together in the striatum, forming matrisomes.


Ann Graybiel went on to show that matrisomes exist for each body part and were organized into loops connecting the neocortex, a region responsible for cognition, perception and motor control, to the brain stem, a region coordinating movement.


In more recent work, Ann Graybiel has focused on identifying specific pathways underlying aspects of behavior such as habit formation, learning and cognition, and decision-making, including being the first to analyze the effect of dopamine depletion on the activity of neurons affected by Parkinson's disease during behavioral tasks.


Ann Graybiel majored in biology and chemistry at Harvard University, receiving her bachelor's degree in 1964.


Ann Graybiel received her PhD in 1971 and joined the MIT faculty in 1973.


In 2018, Ann Graybiel won the Gruber Prize in Neuroscience along with Okihide Hikosaka and Wolfram Schultz.


Ann Graybiel discovered that the striatum, the largest nucleus within the basal ganglia, has a complex, modular structure.


Ann Graybiel then followed this transformative discovery with studies describing the functionally of that architecture, including the finding that changes in striatal neural activity during the learning process lead to the formation of pathological habits, such as those that characterize obsessive compulsive disorder.


Ann Graybiel is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Medicine.