Advisory Board

Professor Edward S. Boyden

Edward S. Boyden, Ph.D. is MIT Media Lab, Benesse Career Development Professor; Synthetic Neurobiology (Neuromedia) Group, Leader; MIT Media Lab Center for Human Augmentation, co-director; MIT Department of Biological Engineering, MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, joint professor; MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, associate member; MIT Computational and Systems Biology Initiative, MIT Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Track, faculty member; and MIT Microsystems Technology Laboratories, affiliate member.
For his work, Ed was named to the “Top 35 Innovators Under the Age of 35” by Technology Review in 2006, selected to the Discovery Science Channel’s “Top 5 Best Science Moments” in 2007, and elected to the “Top 20 Brains Under Age 40” by Discover Magazine in 2008. He has received the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Society for Neuroscience Research Award for Innovation in Neuroscience, and many other honors for his scientific and engineering accomplishments, as well as his leadership in the growing field of neuroengineering.
Our brains and nervous systems mediate everything we perceive, feel, decide, and do — and act as our ultimate interface to the world. An outstanding challenge for humanity is to understand these neuromedia interfaces at a level of abstraction that enables us to engineer their functions — repairing pathology, augmenting cognition, and revealing insights into the human condition.
His Synthetic Neurobiology group invents and applies tools to analyze and engineer brain circuits in both humans and model systems. His current neuroengineering focus is on devising technologies for controlling the processing within specific neural circuit targets in the brain, deriving abstraction layers for systematically correcting neurological and psychiatric disorders. Many of these tools involve “optogenetic” technologies that he has developed for sensitizing neurons to being controlled with light.
Ed hopes that this synthetic neurobiology approach to the brain will help us better understand — and engineer improvements upon — the nature of human existence.
His papers include Millisecond-timescale optical control of neural dynamics in the nonhuman primate brain, Prosthetic systems for therapeutic optical activation and silencing of genetically-targeted neurons, Multiple-color optical activation, silencing, and desynchronization of neural activity, with single-spike temporal resolution, Millisecond-timescale, genetically targeted optical control of neural activity, Selective engagement of plasticity mechanisms for motor memory storage, and Distinct patterns of stimulus generalization of increases and decreases in VOR gain.
Ed earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, his B.S. in Physics, and his M.Eng. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT in 1999 with the thesis Quantum Computation: Theory and Implementation. He earned his Ph.D. in Neurosciences at Stanford University in 2005.
Watch Neurocircuitry & Second Life for Health. Read his blog.