PLAN 90: Article
Ed Boyden Awarded Andrew Carnegie Prize

Honor Recognizes Trailblazers in Neuroscience

In April, Ed Boyden, associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at the Media Lab and the McGovern Institute, was awarded the third annual Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences by the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, a joint venture of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.  Funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as part of its centennial celebration, the prize recognizes trailblazers in the mind and brain sciences whose research has helped advance the field and its applications.

At the Media Lab, 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, established in 2003 to help synergize the efforts of researchers from approximately 20 labs across campus, as well as faculty from more than a dozen academic departments, institutes and other units, 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.

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