Associate Professor of Biological Engineering & Brain and Cognitive Science, at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT McGovern Institute
“Boyden is a pioneer in bioengineering and neuroscience,” said Marlene Behrmann, the George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon and co-director of the CNBC. “His work has opened a new window into our ability to study brain function with the development of optically activated ion channels for the precise temporal control of neural activity. He embodies all the criteria for this award with his discoveries, their basic science impact and their potential therapeutic applications. We are delighted to recognize his contributions.”
At MIT, Boyden leads the synthetic neurobiology group, which develops tools for analyzing and engineering the circuits of the brain. These technologies include “optogenetic” tools that 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 of the living brain. He also co-directs the Center for Neurobiological Engineering, designed to develop new tools to accelerate neuroscience progress.
Boyden has launched an award-winning series of classes at MIT that teach principles of neuroengineering, starting with how to control and observe neural functions and culminating with strategies for launching companies in the nascent neurotechnology space.