Morgan Sheng is a core institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where he serves as co-director of the Broad’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. He is also a professor of neuroscience in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and an affiliate of both The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research.
From 2001 to 2008, Sheng was the Menicon Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, as well as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. From 2008 to 2019, Sheng was Vice-President of Neuroscience at Genentech, a leading biotech company, where he led research and drug discovery efforts for major diseases of the nervous system.
Sheng is a fellow of the Royal Society (UK), a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK), a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and honorary fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He has served on the editorial boards of Neuron, Journal of Neuroscience, and Current Opinions in Neurobiology. A past recipient of the Fondation Ipsen Prize in Neuronal Plasticity and the Young Investigator Award of the Society for Neuroscience, Sheng received a B.A. (1st class honors) from Oxford University and obtained his medical degree and training at London University. His Ph.D. thesis was completed at Harvard Medical School in the lab of Michael Greenberg. Following postdoctoral research in the lab of Lily Jan at the University of California, San Francisco, Sheng served as a faculty member in the Department of Neurobiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School (1994-2001) before joining MIT (2001-2008).
A physician and a scientist, Morgan Sheng is author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications focused on the molecular cellular biology of synapses and synaptic plasticity, and pathogenic mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. Sheng’s molecular studies of the structure and function of synapses (the communication junctions between brain cells) while at MGH and MIT have enhanced our understanding of the neural basis of cognitive function and dysfunction, including learning and memory, neurodevelopmental disorders, and dementia. His work has uncovered the form and complexity of protein complexes in the postsynaptic membrane that regulate the remarkable plasticity of neuronal connections.
At Genentech he built and led a world-class neuroscience department and research program focused on elucidating pathologic mechanisms and developing new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and pain, and illuminating pathways that are of basic scientific interest as well as therapeutic relevance. Sheng and coworkers made important discoveries regarding the molecular mechanisms of synapse weakening and loss, the contributions of microglia and innate immunity in neurodegenerative diseases, and the roles of genetic risk factors in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and frontotemporal dementia.
As Co-Director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute, Sheng will help to shape the center’s scientific vision and direction, and oversee the center’s efforts to develop therapeutics for schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses.