Kay M. Tye, Ph.D.

Kay M. Tye, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Principal Investigator
Whitehead Professorship Chair

Picower Institute for Learning and Memory
MIT Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Office: 46-6263
Phone: 617-324-8133
Email / ResearchGate / Google ScholarTwitter

Education

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1999-2003
B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Minor in Biology

University of California at San Francisco 2004-2008
Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Janak Laboratory

Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center 2008-2009
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Bonci and Janak Laboratories

Stanford University 2009-2011
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Deisseroth Laboratory

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2012-Current
Assistant Professor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Picower Institute of Learning and Memory

Awards and Funding


  • New York Stem Cell Foundation – Robertson Investigator (2015 – 2019)
  • NIMH (2014 – 2018)
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award (2014 – 2015)
  • ACNP Associate Member (2014)
  • NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2013 – 2018)
  • Klingenstein Foundation Award (2013 – 2015)
  • Whitehead Career Development Professorship (2013 – 2015)
  • Whitehall Foundation Award (2012 – 2014)
  • Jeptha H. and Emily V. Wade Award (2012)
  • Stanford University Post-Doctoral Award (2010)
  • NRSA Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (2009 – 2012)
  • Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award (2009)
  • Donald B. Lindsley Prize (2009)
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellow (2005 – 2008)

Interests

Scientific: Behavior, Learning and Memory, Anxiety, Autism, Obesity, Synapses, Amygdala, Dopamine, Limbic System, Cellular Physiology, Valence, Motivation, Neurochemistry, Optogenetics, Imaging.

Recreational: Breakdancing, Rock Climbing, Tennis, Poker, Walking or Jogging Bridge Loops, Eating, Socializing, Snowboarding, Surfing, Froyo and almost any game.

Background

Kay M. Tye received her bachelor’s degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from MIT in 2003, and earned her PhD in 2008 at UCSF with Patricia Janak.  Her thesis work was supported by the National Science Foundation and recognized with the Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience as well as the Weintraub Award in Biosciences.  She completed her postdoctoral training with Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University in 2011, with support from an NRSA from NIMH.  She became an Assistant Professor at MIT in 2012, and has since been recognized with the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Technology Review’s Top 35 Innovators under 35, and has been named a Whitehall, Klingenstein and Sloan Foundation Fellow.

Curriculum Vitae


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA (2012 – Present)
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory

Stanford University at Stanford, CA (2009 – 2011)
Post-Doctoral Fellow advised by Karl Deisseroth

Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UCSF, Emeryville CA (2008 – 2009)
Post-Doctoral Fellow co-advised by Patricia H. Janak and Antonello Bonci

University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco CA (2004 – 2008)
Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Defended Thesis May 30 2008, Degree Conferred September 9, 2008
Following one year of rotations, joined Patricia H. Janak laboratory September 2005

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA (1999 – 2003)
B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Biology minor, graduated June 2003 with GPA of 4.9/5.0

Post-Doctoral Fellow (September 2009 – December 2011)
Stanford University at Stanford, CA
Karl Deisseroth Laboratory
Using novel optogenetic techniques to dissect the neural circuitry underlying psychiatric disease.

Post-Doctoral Fellow (May 2008 – August 2009)
Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center associated with UCSF, Emeryville CA
Antonello Bonci and Patricia H. Janak Laboratories
Examined the role of dopamine in modulating learning and learning-induced synaptic plasticity in the amygdala.

Graduate Student (August 2005 – May 2008)
University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco CA
Patricia H. Janak Laboratory
Studied electrophysiological properties of amygdala neurons in vitro during reward-seeking behavior.

Rotation Student (September 2004 – July 2005)
University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco CA
Heberlein, Cheyette and Brainard Laboratories
Explored genetic manipulations in drosophila, Wnt-signaling in mice and song production in Bengalese finches.

Undergraduate Research Assistant (August 2001 – 2003)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Cambridge MA
Richard Wurtman Laboratory
Used in vivo microdialysis to examine neurotransmitter metabolite levels in rats treated with antipsychotics.

Undergraduate Research Assistant (September 1999 – 2000)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Clinical Research Center, Cambridge MA
Suzanne Corkin Laboratory
Studied performance in working memory tasks of Alzheimer’s Disease patients and case-study patient, H.M., whose bilateral hippocampus removal helped determine the functional localization of learning and memory.

  • Society for Neuroscience Chapters Graduate Student Award, 2006
  • Bay Area Neuroscience Gathering, Best Student or Post-Doctoral Abstract, 2007
  • Keystone Symposia on the Neurobiology of Addiction Scholarship, 2007
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, 2005-2008
  • Harold M. Weintraub Award (Outstanding Achievement in Biosciences), 2009
  • Donald B. Lindsley Prize (Most Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis in Behavioral Neuroscience), 2009
  • European Brain and Behavior Society Post-Doctoral Fellow Award, 2009
  • National Research Service Award Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, 2009-2012
  • Stanford University Post-Doctoral Award, 2010
  • Winter Brain Travel Award, 2011
  • Jeptha H. and Emily V. Wade Fund Award, 2012
  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Travel Award, 2012
  • Kavli Foundation Frontiers Fellow, 2012
  • Whitehall Foundation Research Award, 2012-2014
  • Klingenstein Fellowship Award, 2013-2015
  • Whitehead Career Development Professorship, 2013-2015
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award, 2013-2014
  • NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, 2013-2018
  • Sloan Research Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 2014-2015
  • TR35 Technology Review’s Top 35 Innovators Under 35, 2014

Commitment to Caring (2014)
Was nominated and recognized for outstanding mentorship of graduate students by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education at MIT.

Science Club for Girls (2012-Present)
Volunteer with underprivileged girls or females that are under-represented minorities (aged 12-17) from local public schools to form lasting mentorship relationships, speak on panels, give presentations, and give lab tours with real research demonstrations with the goal of promoting awareness and feasibility of Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) careers. Encourage girls to be a role-model and mentor to local K-5 aged children through open workshops to experience the rewards of mentoring in STEM careers.

Boston Brain Bee (2012-Present)
Volunteer as panelist, keynote speaker and ongoing mentor to students from local high schools competing in an annual neuroscience bee.

Women in Life Sciences (2006-Present)
Participated in a peer-mentoring group where students, post-docs and faculty connect to form lasting bonds and offer career and life advice.

Quattro Alliance for Science Integration (2005-2007)
Volunteered for over 1000 hours to plan and teach 16 life science lessons to two 3rd-grade classrooms of non-native speakers of English in Bay Area public schools using creative and interactive teaching strategies, including multi-day retreats.

Scientist-Teacher Action Team (STAT) Program (2004-2005)
Volunteered to work with teachers to design, plan and teach 8 science lessons to students at San Francisco public schools.

Freshman Leadership Program (1999-2003)
Volunteered to work with ~100 incoming MIT freshman per year to develop communication, leadership and mentorship skills while building confidence and increasing awareness of underprivileged populations. Special emphasis was given to issues of: mental health, gender biases, racism, and socio-economic backgrounds.

MIT Disabilities Office (2002-2003)
Worked with the disabilities office to provide learning resources to students that were blind, had learning disabilities, mental health problems or other physical disabilities.

Cambridge-Boston Outreach (1999-2000)
Volunteered to work with underprivileged youth, K-5th grade, to increase literacy using non-traditional, interactive learning strategies.

  • New Approaches in Understanding Neural Circuits in Stress and Cognition. (2014) Donders Institute Summer School.  Nijmegen, Netherlands.
  • Distinct Amygdala Projections Control Opposing Behavioral Outputs. (2014) RIKEN Brain Science Institute Summer Program. Tokyo, Japan.
  • Amygdala Projections in Unconditioned and Conditioned Valence. (2014) 9th Federation of European Neuroscience Societies Forum. Milan, Italy.
  • Distinct Amygdala Projections Control Opposing Behavioral Outputs. (2014) Neuroscience Seminars, Biological Discovery in Woods Hole. Woods Hole, MA.
  • Optogenetic Probing of the mesocorticolimbic system. (2014) Neuroscience School of Advanced Studies. Causal Neuroscience: from synaptic plasticity to adaptive behavior. Cortona, Italy.
  • Optogenetic Dissection of Neural Circuits Underlying Anxiety. (2014) American Psychiatric Association. New York, NY.
  • Distinct Functions of Different Amygdala Projections on Emotional Valence. (2014) Wisconsin Symposium on Emotion: Neural bases of adaptive and maladaptive emotion regulation. Madison, WI.
  • Dissecting Neural Circuits Underlying Motivated Behaviors. (2014) University of Concordia, Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology. Montreal, Canada.
  • Neural Circuits Mediating Motivated Behaviors. (2014) University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN.
  • Synapses Encoding Valence in the Amygdala. (2014) Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. Park City, UT.
  • Optogenetic approaches to understanding motivated behaviors. (2013) Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong.
  • Dissecting Neural Circuits Underlying Behaviors Relevant to Psychiatric Disease in Animal Models. (2013) Massachusetts General Hospital/Health, Sciences & Technology Athinoula A. Martinos Center. For Biomedical Imaging. Charlestown, MA.
  • (2013) Symposium: “The Emotional Triad.” Society for Neuroscience Meeting. San Diego, CA.
  • Basolateral Amygdala Projections to the Ventral Hippocampus and Prefrontal Cortex in Anxiety-Like Behaviors.
  • Distinct Amygdala Projections Mediate Different Behaviors. (2013) Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society. San Diego, CA.
  • Neural Circuits Encoding Emotion and Motivation. (2013) University College of London. London, UK.
  • Dissecting Neural Circuits Underlying Behaviors Relevant to Psychiatric Disease. (2013) Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital. Boston, MA.
  • Dissecting Neural Circuits in Animal Models of Psychiatric Disease. (2013) Duke University. Durham, NC.
  • Applying Optogenetics to Probing Animal Models of Brain Disease. (2013) Boston University School of Medicine. Boston, MA.
  • Dissecting Neural Circuits Underlying Behaviors Relevant to Psychiatric Disease. (2013) National Institute of Health. Bethesda, MD.
  • Neural encoding dynamics of VTA-projecting lateral hypothalamic neurons during a reward-related task. (2013) Session Speaker: Catecholamines, Gordon Research Conferences, Mt. Snow. West Dover, VT.
  • Distinct function of basolateral amygdala neurons based on projection target. (2013) Session Speaker and Discussion Leader, Gordon Research Conference: Amygdala in health and disease. Stonehill College, Stonehill, MA.
  • Optogenetic dissection of novel circuits that control anxiety-related behavior. (2013) Plenary Speaker and Symposium Chair: Optogenetics 2013 Meeting on Neuronal Function to Mapping and Disease Therapeutics. Waltham, MA.
  • Activating Dopamine Neurons Acutely Reverses a Stress-induced Depression-like Phenotype. (2013) Psychiatric Genetics and Translational Research Seminar: Massachusetts General Hospital. Boston, MA.
  • Dissecting the Neural Circuits Underlying Anxiety. (2013) Neurobiology Seminar Series: University of Chicago. Chicago, IL.
  • Dissecting the Neural Circuits Underlying Anxiety. (2013) Seminar: MacLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Belmont, MA.
  • Using Optogenetics to Understand Neural Circuits in Animal Models of Brain Disease. (2013) Keynote Lecture: 5th Texas A&M Neuroscience Symposium. College Station, TX.
  • Differential Roles for Amygdala Projections in Anxiety. (2013) Seminar series: Harvard Brain Science Institute. Cambridge, MA.
  • A Causal Role for Dopamine Neurons in Depression-Related Behaviors. (2012) 51st Annual Meeting: American College for Neuropsychopharmacology, Hollywood, FL.
  • Dissecting the Neural Circuits Underlying Anxiety. (2012) Keynote Lecture: 21st Annual Puerto Rico Society for Neuroscience. San Juan, PR.
  • Brain Stimulation Methods in Basic Science. (2012) Kavli Foundation Frontiers of Science Symposia. Irvine, CA.
  • Applying Optogenetics to Study Psychiatric Disease. (2012) Plenary Lecture: Optogenetics and Pharmacogenetics in Neuronal Function and Dysfunction (Pre-SFN Conference). New Orleans, LA.
  • Selective Manipulation and Visualization of Neural Circuits. (2012) Speaker and Symposium Co-Chair. Winter Conference on Neural Plasticity, St. Kitts & Nevis.
  • A Causal Role for Dopamine in Depression. (2012) Winter Conference on Brain Research, Snowbird, UT.
  • Amygdala Microcircuits: Application of Optogenetic Tools. (2012) Winter Conference on Brain Research, Snowbird, UT.
  • Dissecting Anxiety Circuits: A Reverse Translation Approach. (2011) 50th Annual Meeting: American College for Neuropsychopharmacology, Waikaloa, HI.
  • Optogenetics: Development and Application. (2011) Keynote Lecture: Belgium Society for Neuroscience. Leuven, Belgium.
  • The functional role of amygdala microcircuits in motivated behavior. (2011) Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
  • Novel optogenetic techniques to dissect neural circuits underlying motivated behaviors relevant to addiction and anxiety. (2011) University of California at San Francisco, Emeryville, CA.
  • Neural mechanisms underlying conditioned reward-seeking behavior and unconditioned anxiety. (2011) Cornell University, Ithaca NY.
  • The neural basis underlying motivated behavior: From reward to anxiety. (2011) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
  • Optogenetic dissection of amygdala microcircuits underlying anxiety and reward. (2011) Tufts University, Boston, MA.
  • Application of novel imaging and optogenetic techniques to dissecting the neural mechanisms underlying anxiety. (2010) Stanford University Post-Doctoral Award Symposium. Stanford, CA.
  • Dopamine gates learning-induced plasticity in a subset of synapses on amygdala neurons. (2009) 41st European Brain and Behavior Society Meeting. Rhodes Island, Greece.
  • The formation and retrieval of cue-reward associations: Amygdala activity and synaptic strength. (2009) Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award Symposium. Seattle, WA.
  • Rapid changes in phasic firing of amygdala neurons and strengthening of thalamo-amygdala synapses mediates cue-reward learning. (2009) Stanford University, Stanford, CA.
  • Increases in phasic activity and potentiation of synapses onto amygdala neurons mediates stimulus-reinforcement learning. (2008) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
  • Mechanisms underlying the acquisition and retrieval of cue-reward associations. (2008) Janelia Farms Research Campus, Loudoun County, VA.
  • Amygdala processing of reward-related memories: The relationship among synapses, spikes and behavior. (2008) University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.
  • Amygdala activity and synaptic strength increase with reward-related learning. (2008) Wheeler Center Retreat: Amygdala and reward, Marshall, CA.
  • Synaptic plasticity in the amygdala following cue-reward learning. (2007) Gordon Research Conference: Amygdala in health and disease, Lewiston, ME.

Visit our Publications page for a list of all published papers.
Tye KM, Mirzabekov JJ, Warden MR, Tsai HC, Finkelstein JC, Kim SY, Ferenczi E, Adhikari A, Gunaydin LA, Thompson KR, Andalman AS, Witten IB, Deisseroth K (2011) Optogenetic activation of VTA dopamine neurons acutely rescues a stress-induced depression phenotype. 40th Annual Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience. Washington DC.

Mattis JH, Tye KM, Ramakrishnan C, O’Shea DJ, Gunaydin LA, Ferenczi EA, Hyun M, Fenno LE, Gradinaru V, Yizhar O, Deisseroth K (2011) Principles for optogenetics derived from direct comparative analysis of microbial opsins. 40th Annual Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience. Washington DC.

Ferenczi E, Mattis J, Ramakrishnan C, Tye KM, O’Shea D, Yihzar O, Deisseroth K (2011) Stability of optogenetic tool deactivation kinetics under varying stimulation conditions. 40th Annual Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience. Washington DC.

Gunaydin LA, Finkelstein JC, Fenno LE, Mirzabekov JJ, Tye KM, Bunney CA, Deisseroth K (2011) Bidirectional modulation of social behavior by optogenetic tuning of mesolimbic dopamine circuitry. 40th Annual Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience. Washington DC.

Warden MR, Selimbeyoglu A, Tye KM, Kim SY, Mirzabekov JJ, Frank LM, Deisseroth K (2011) Optogenetic control and neurophysiology of the medial prefrontal-dorsal raphe projection during depression-related behavior. 40th Annual Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience. Washington DC.

Tye KM, Fenno LE, Kim SY, Prakash R, Grosenick L, Zarabi H, Thompson KR, Ramakrishnan C, Gradinaru V, Deisseroth K (2010) Endogenous anxiolytic mechanisms identified by projection-specific
optogenetic control of amygdala microcircuitry. 39th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Tye KM, Tye LD, Cone JJ, Hekkelman EF, Janak PH, Bonci A (2009) Methylphenidate (Ritalin) enhances task performance and learning-induced amygdala plasticity via distinct D1 and D2 receptor mechanisms. 38th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL.

Janak PH, Tye KM, Bonci A, and Stuber GD (2008) Encoding of reward-predictive cues in the basolateral amygdala.  Biology of Cognition, Chantilly, France, Oct. 16-19th, 2008.

Tye KM, Stuber GD, Bonci A, Janak PH (2008) Increases in thalamo-amygdala synaptic strength mediate cue-reward acquisition. Wheeler Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction: Marshall, CA.

Tye KM, Stuber GD, de Ridder B, Bonci A, Janak PH (2007) Synaptic plasticity in the amygdala following reward-related learning. 37th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Tye KM and Janak PH (2007) Distinct populations of amygdala neurons encode motivation and reinforcement. Gordon Research Conference: Amygdala in health and disease, Lewiston, ME.

Cone JJ, Tye KM, Janak PH (2007) Neural activity in the basolateral amygdala changes with altered reward availability. 37th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Tye KM and Janak PH (2007) Motivation and reinforcement are distinctly encoded in the basolateral amygdala during cue-induced reinstatement. Keystone Symposia on the Neurobiology of Addiction, Santa Fe, NM.

Tye KM and Janak PH (2007) Conditioned reinforcement and conditioned incentive are distinctly encoded in the basolateral amygdala. Bay Area Neuroscience Gathering, San Francisco, CA.

Tye KM and Janak PH (2006) Evidence suggests that the cue-reward association is neurally represented by basolateral amygdala neurons during cue-induced reinstatement. 36th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Atlanta, GA.

Teaching:
At MIT: 9.17 Systems Laboratory, 9.S52 Seminar on Neural Circuits and Neuromodulatory Systems, 9.011 Guest Lecturer

Committees and Service:
Graduate Admissions: Systems track and Molecular/Cellular track (2012, 2013)
Faculty Search: Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department, Picower Institute
Graduate Student Affairs: Core Member
Thesis Committees: 3 not including lab members
Freshman Advisor: 2014

Journal Review:
Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, PNAS, Journal of Neuroscience, Neuroscience, Physiology, Neuropsychopharmacology, Biological Psychiatry

Study Section:
National Science Foundation (Ad-Hoc)
SFN-Sponsored Social Chair: Optogenetics Social (2012, 2013)

  • Jeptha H. and Emily V. Wade Award, MIT RSC Funds
  • The JPB Foundation
  • DP2-DK-102256-01, National Institutes of Health, NIDDK
  • NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, NIDDK
  • R01-MH102441-01, National Institutes of Health, NIMH
  • RF1-AG047661-01, National Institutes of Health, NIA
  • Whitehall Foundation
  • Whitehead Career Development Chair
  • The Esther A. & Joseph, Klingenstein Fund
  • Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, NARSAD
  • Sloan Research Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • New York Stem Cell Foundation – Robertson Investigator