Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 12/08/2015

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Edward S. Boyden, Ph.D., Class of 2014
Associate Professor, MIT Media Lab
Leader, Synthetic Neurobiology Group
Co-Director, MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering

In 2015, I won the largest scientific prize in the world, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, for my work on developing methods for controlling brain cells with light. These tools, which are known as optogenetic tools, have been widely used throughout biology to study how specific neurons contribute to behaviors and diseases. You can find out more info on the prize here:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/11/06/science/breakthrough-prize-winners-2016.html?_r=1

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…and more info on the optogenetic technology I worked on, here:

In addition, in 2015, my research group at MIT developed a radical new method of imaging complex biological systems such as brain circuits — we take biological specimens, and physically swell them to make them larger. This method is very different from the past 300 years of biological imaging, which use glass lenses to magnify light from biological specimens. By physically swelling the specimens, it is possible to take pictures of them with nanoscale precision, using ordinary inexpensive and scalable optics. You can read more about this technology here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/20/science/microscopy-stretches-limits-of-conventional-microscopes.html

This method, which we call expansion microscopy, is enabling unprecedented examination of brain circuits and other complex structures.

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