Thomas McHugh majored in molecular and cellular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, before moving to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he finished a PhD in biology. At MIT, he studied genetics and the physiology of spatial memory with Matt Wilson and Susumu Tonegawa, and continued to study the circuits of hippocampal memory as part of his postdoctoral studies. In 2009, he moved to what is now known as the RIKEN Center for Brain Science to start his own laboratory. His Laboratory for Circuit and Behavioral Physiology at RIKEN takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding how memories are formed, stored and recalled in the mammalian brain, and how damage from factors such as stress and disease impair these functions.


  • Nakaakira Tsukahara Memorial Award, Brain Science Foundation, 2019
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award, 2010
  • MIT School of Science Dean’s Educational Advising Award, 2005
  • MIT School of Science Infinite Mile Award, 2002


  • Ph.D. in Biology, 2001

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Biology

  • B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology, 1994

    University of California, Berkeley