Building 46

Building 46

The MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences is unique on the MIT campus in that nearly all of our research and academic activity happens in one place, Building 46, a state-of-the-art facility designed to support groundbreaking science. 

Under a single roof, Building 46 houses:

  • The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), the academic home of brain science at MIT. BCS, part of the MIT School of Science, administers the undergraduate Course 9 (Brain and Cognitive Sciences) and Course 6-9 (Computation and Cognition, in partnership with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science). It also manages a doctoral program with areas of focus in cognitive neuroscience, systems neuroscience, cellular and molecular neuroscience, and computation. The department is also the base for a robust research program aimed at reverse engineering the brain to understand the mind.
  • The McGovern Institute for Brain Research, founded in 2000 with a mission of bringing together researchers and tools to study how the brain gives rise to the mind. The McGovern Institute is home in turn to several research centers studying autism, molecular therapeutics, and psychiatric disorders. It also includes the NSF-funded Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines, as well as the Martinos Imaging Center, a core facility that provides access to state-of-the-art brain imaging technologies for MIT researchers and their collaborators around the world.
  • The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, founded in 1994 as the Center for Learning and Memory to study the (then) largely-unknown mechanisms of learning and memory. A $50 million gift from the Picower Foundation in 2002 created the Picower Institute. Picower researchers have made breakthrough discoveries in the encoding of memory and learning, Alzheimer's disease, and more. The Picower Institute is also home to the Aging Brain Initiative.
  • The Simons Center for the Social Brain, ceeated to advance research on autism by building collaboration and supporting research.

For a complete listing of institutes, centers, and labs located in Building 46, visit the Community and Resources page.

Within our laboratories, the BCS community has access to the latest technology, from gene manipulation and multi-electrode recording, to functional brain imaging and optogenetics, CLARITY, and CRISPR. We use top-of-the-line equipment to conduct our work, including MEG and fMRI scanning machines, a high-density micro arraying device, and multiple Beowulf clusters for parallel computation. Building 46 has several core facilites to facilitate access to these and other technologies:

  • National Eye Institute Cores: Imaging, Electronics, and Machine
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPS) Core
  • Martinos Imaging Center
  • Two-Photon Shared Microscope
  • Genetic Neuroengineering

More information on these can be found here, in the "Core Facilities" tab.

There is an exciting synergy here, with students and scientists making connections and working across disciplines. It creates a fertile environment of innovation ideally suited for our work: finding answers to the most important questions about the human brain. 

Read more about the history of BCS.

Image: Andy Ryan, MIT Capital Projects

Read more about Building 46

MIT News: Institute Dedicates Brain & Cog Complex, Dec. 5, 2005

MIT News: New Architecture Brings Scientists Together, Nov. 29, 2005

MIT Capital Projects: Design, construction, specifications

Access to Building 46

Note that these guidelines may be superseded due to MIT and Building 46 COVID-19 precautions. Visit MIT Now for the latest guidelines.

  • Access to Building 46 is restricted from 6pm to 6am Monday through Friday, and all day on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. 
  • You must have an ID card to enter the building after hours and should keep it on you at all times.