ANN ARBOR – How do we think? That question has fascinated Huda Akil since growing up in her home in Damascus, Syria.

The longtime University of Michigan neuroscientist first learned to think through her parents, she said. There was no limit to the questions she could ask them, which she said piqued her curiosity.

“They were my living Google,” Akil said.

Thinking is not an abstract idea, but a literal, biological one, according to Akil’s five decades of work that just earned her the nation’s highest science honor from President Joe Biden.

Akil, who works at the university Medical School and the Michigan Neuroscience Institute, was one of the awardees of the National Award of Science at a Tuesday, Oct. 24 ceremony at the White House.

Akil’s work seeks to understand how the brain functions during depression, anxiety, addiction and other mental conditions.
“A groundbreaking scientist studying neurobiology and emotions — we could use that badly,” Biden said.
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