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The MIT professor has earned a 2013 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award to further her obesity research.

MIT assistant professor of neuroscience Kay M. Tye has studied the brain circuits underlying addiction, anxiety and depression — major problems to the health of individuals and society. Now she wants to apply her training, and her own innovative techniques, to obesity research.

“Obesity is linked to the neural circuitry of the other behaviors but it may be the most pressing problem because it is the most prevalent and it is increasing,” Tye says. “Our currently available treatments for obesity are ineffective and completely insufficient for the problem that faces our society.”

So Tye proposed a strategy to discover the neural circuits underlying obesity and then reprogram them to eliminate obsessive craving and consumption. The proposal was bold, creative and risky — but it was just the kind of high-stakes project the National Institutes of Health (NIH) seeks to support with its Director’s New Innovator Award.

Now, Tye has been named a recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award for 2013 and will receive $1.5 million over the course of five years to work on her novel approach to obesity research… Original Article »

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