Bernardo Sabatini, M.D., Ph.D.
Bernardo Sabatini’s research examines the mechanisms by which animals choose what to do next. This process of “action selection” uses information from past experiences, current goals, internal needs, and the current state of the environment to choose an action that achieves near- and long-term objectives, such as access to food, water, mates, and safety from predators. An evolutionarily ancient part of the brain, the basal ganglia, is conserved from fish to humans and mediates action selection. Sabatini and his collaborators study the basal ganglia to uncover the circuits that underlie action selection, and that allow an animal to update its action plan dependent on past experiences. To facilitate their studies, the Sabatini group develops novel optical, behavioral, and mathematical methods. Sabatini is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator as well as an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology.