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Steven Hyman, M.D.

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Steven E. Hyman, M.D., is a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and Harald McPike Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and a Core Institute Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, where he directs the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. The Stanley Center engages in large-scale, globally conducted studies of neuropsychiatric genetics, stem cell biology, neurobiology, and technology development in support of translational efforts focused on reducing the global burden of psychiatric disorders.

From 2001 to 2011, Hyman served as provost (chief academic officer) of Harvard University, where he had a special focus on developing and supporting collaborative, interdisciplinary, and cross institutional efforts in the sciences, arts, and humanities. From 1996 to 2001, he served as director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where he invested in neuroscience and emerging genomic technologies and initiated a series of large clinical effectiveness trials to inform practice.

He has served as editor of the Annual Review of Neuroscience (2002-2016), founding president of the International Neuroethics Society (2008-2013), president of the Society for Neuroscience (2015), and president of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2018). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). At the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine he has served on the NAM Council (2012-2018) and the governing board of the National Research Council (2016-2019), and chaired the National Academies’ Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders (2012-2018), which brings together industry, government, foundations, patient groups, and academia. He is currently a member of the Committee on Science, Technology, and the Law (CSTL). He chairs the boards of directors of the Charles A. Dana Foundation (NY) and the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering (Geneva, Switzerland), and is a director of Annual Reviews Inc (Palo Alto), a nonprofit scientific publisher. In the private sector he is a director of Voyager Therapeutics, Cyclerion Therapeutics, and Vesalius Therapeutics. He serves on the scientific advisory boards of Janssen Research and Development and F-Prime Capital. In 2016, he was awarded the Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health by the National Academy of Medicine.

Hyman received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Yale College, an M.A. from the University of Cambridge, which he attended as a Mellon fellow studying history and philosophy of science, and an M.D., cum laude, from Harvard Medical School.


  • GenEd 1064 (Formerly SCRB 187)

    Brains, Identity, and Moral Agency

    Advances in brain science have the potential to diminish many forms of human suffering and disability that are rooted in disordered brain function. But what are the ethical implications involved in altering the structure and function of human brains? What’s at stake when we have the ability to alter a person’s narrative identity, create brain-computer interfaces, and manipulate social and moral emotion? In this course, you will ask and attempt to answer these questions, and discuss the implications of mechanistic explanations of decision-making and action for widely-held concepts of moral agency and legal culpability. This course will prepare you to be a thoughtful citizen of a world characterized by rapidly emerging understandings of human brain function, and by new technologies intended to repair or influence human brains.

  • SCRB 185

    Brain Development, Risk of Mental Illness, and New Approaches to Treatment Development

    What is mental illness? How well can we distinguish illness from normal variation in cognition and behavior? Why in most cases do patients present with symptoms by age twenty? This course will explore mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders through the lens of autism spectrum disorder, which begins in early childhood, and schizophrenia, which begins during adolescence. In exploring vulnerability and pathogenesis, the course will weave together material that spans human genetics and environmental exposures, human brain development and neural circuit formation, and remodeling of brain circuits by experience. Given the complexity of the brain and its disorders and the limited access to living human brains, the course will also explore and evaluate our sources of knowledge, our model systems such as human brain organoid models, and our technologies such as brain-computer interfaces. The course will highlight experimental approaches poised to elucidate disease mechanisms and deliver much needed therapeutics for some of the most devastating pathologies of our time.

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