Prof. Ed Boyden completed his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and a Master of Engineering at MIT. He committed to his pre-doctoral studies as a fellow at the Departments of Neurobiology and Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. Prof. Boyden joined MIT as Assistant Professor at the Media Lab and the Department of Biological Engineering in 2007.
Your brain mediates everything that you sense, feel, think, and do. A challenge for humanity is to understand the brain at a level of abstraction that enables the engineering of its function -- so that it becomes possible to understand how the brain computes, and also to treat intractable brain disorders. We are inventing new tools for mapping, analyzing, and controlling brain circuits. For example, we have devised, often working in interdisciplinary collaborations, 'optogenetic' molecular tools, which enable the activation and silencing of genetically targetable neural circuit elements with light, new microscopes and nanotechnologies that enable the systematic control and readout of neural activity, and robotic and microscopic methods for mapping cellular functions throughout the living brain. We distribute tools as freely as possible, and are using our inventions to enable systematic approaches to neuroscience, revealing how neurons work together in circuits to generate behavior, and empowering new therapeutic strategies for neurological and psychiatric disorders.