Kay Tye


Systems Neurobiology Laboratory

Wylie Vale Chair

Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Video


Neuroscientist Kay M. Tye investigates how your brain gives rise to complex emotional states like depression, anxiety or loneliness. From the cutting edge of science, she shares her latest findings — including the development of a tool that uses light to activate specific neurons and create dramatic behavioral changes in mice. Learn how these discoveries could change the way you think about your mind — and possibly uncover effective treatments for mental disorders.

This talk was presented at a TED Institute event given in partnership with The Kavli Foundation, the Simons Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences. TED editors featured it among our selections on the home page.

Salk Professor Kay Tye – Breaking Down the Brain

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BS, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Minor in Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD, Neuroscience, University of California at San Francisco


Awards & Honors

  • Tsuneko And Reiji Okazaki Award, 2019
  • New York Stem Cell Foundation, Neuroscience Robertson Investigator Award, 2015-2019
  • McKnight Scholar Award, 2015-2018
  • National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award, 2017
  • Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award, 2016
  • Daniel X. Freedman Award, 2016
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2016
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Research (UROP) Faculty Mentor, 2015
  • Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award, 2015
  • BCS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, 2015
  • Sloan Research Fellowship, 2014
  • Commitment to Caring MIT Graduate Mentoring Award, 2014
  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Associate Member, 2014
  • Technology Review’s "Top 35 Innovators Under 35," 2014
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award, 2013-2014
  • National Institutes Of Health Director’s New Innovator Award, 2013-2018
  • Klingenstein Foundation Award, 2013-2015
  • Whitehead Career Development Professorship, 2013-2015
  • Whitehall Foundation Award, 2012-2014
  • Kavli Foundation Frontiers Fellow, 2012
  • Jeptha H. And Emily V. Wade Fund Award, 2012
  • Stanford University Postdoctoral Award (Best in Bioengineering), 2010
  • National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2009-2012
  • European Brain and Behavior Society Postdoctoral Fellow Award, 2009
  • Donald B. Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2009
  • Harold M. Weintraub Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biosciences, 2009
  • National Science Foundation Research Fellow, 2005-2008