Kay Tye is an associate professor at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Her current work focuses on using optogenetic, in vivo and ex vivo electrophysiological, pharmacological and imaging techniques to study the neural circuits underlying social, emotional, and motivational states that influence behavior.
Tye received her Bachelor of Science with a major in cognitive science from MIT in 2003 and went out to complete her PhD in neuroscience in Patricia Janak's lab at UCSF. While there, Tye's thesis focused on neuronal activity in the amgdala of rats during performance of a reward-association task. She was able to show increased activity in the amygdala during the learning of this association, and this work won the Donald B. Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience and the Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award. After completing her PhD, Tye went on to work with Karl Deisseroth at Stanford, where she trained in optogenetic techniques.
In 2013 Tye received the NIH Director's New Innovator Award and in 2014 she received the NARSAD Young Investigator Award and was named on MIT Technology Review's TR35 list of top innovators under 35.