Edward Boyden — Scientist

Edward "Ed" S. Boyden is a neuroscientist at MIT. He is a faculty member in the MIT Media Lab and an associate member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. He is recognized for his work on optogenetics. In this technology, a light-sensitive ion channel such as channelrhodopsin-2 is genetically expressed in neurons, allowing neuronal activity to be controlled by light. There were early efforts to achieve targeted optical control dating back to 2002 that did not involve a directly light-activated ion channel, but it was the method based on directly light-activated channels from microbes, such as channelrhodopsin, emerging in 2005 that turned out to be broadly useful. Optogenetics in this way has been widely adopted by neuroscientists as a research tool, and it is also thought to have potential therapeutic applications. Boyden joined the MIT faculty in 2007, and continues to develop new optogenetic tools as well as other technologies for the manipulation of brain activity. Previously, Boyden received degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and physics from MIT. During high school, Boyden attended the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science... (wikipedia)

I was interested in big unknowns, and the brain is one of the biggest, so building tools that allow us to regard the brain as a big electrical circuit appealed to me.
It's not even known how many kinds of cells there are in the brain. If you were looking for a periodic table of the brain, there is no such thing. I really like to think of the brain as a computer.
What I'm really interested in is this idea of a 'brain co-processor' - a device that can record from, and deliver information to, so many points in the brain, with a computational infrastructure in between - a computer that can process the information and compute exactly what needs to be restored.

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