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Biomedical Optics & Medical Imaging

Ed Boyden: Expansion microscopy -- A new tool in brain research

His group at MIT develops tools that enable the mapping of the molecules and wiring of the brain, the recording and control of its neural dynamics, and the repair of its dysfunction. Boyden descirbes an inventive new approach to magnification.

19 May 2015, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201505.01

Ed Boyden is Associate Professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT McGovern Institute. He leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which develops tools for analyzing and engineering the circuits of the brain. These technologies, created often in interdisciplinary collaborations, include optogenetic tools, which enable the activation and silencing of neural-circuit elements with light, 3-D microfabricated neural interfaces that enable control and readout of neural activity, and robotic methods for automatically recording intracellular neural activity and performing single-cell analyses in the living brain.

His numerous awards include the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award (2013), the Grete Lundbeck European "Brain" Prize, the largest brain research prize in the world (2013), and the NIH Director's Pioneer Award (2013). He was also named to the World Economic Forum Young Scientist list (2013), the Wired Smart List "50 People Who Will Change the World" (2012), and the Technology Review "Top 35 Innovators under Age 35" list (2006). He has served on the program committees of several SPIE conferences on neurophotonics, and has been a featured speaker at multiple SPIE events.

Boyden received his PhD in neurosciences from Stanford University as a Hertz Fellow, where he discovered that the molecular mechanisms used to store a memory are determined by the content to be learned. Before that, he received degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and physics from MIT. He has contributed to over 300 peer-reviewed papers, current or pending patents, and articles, and has given over 240 invited talks on his group's work.