Three from MIT elected to the National Academy of Sciences for 2019

MIT Media Lab's Ed Boyden, leader of the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, is one of three professors from MIT elected to the National Academy of Sciences for 2019.

Three MIT professors — Edward Boyden, Paula Hammond, and Aviv Regev — are among the 100 new members and 25 foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Sciences on April 30. Forty percent of the newly elected members are women, the most ever elected in any one year to date.

Membership to the National Academy of Sciences is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist or engineer can receive. Current membership totals approximately 2,380 members and nearly 485 foreign associates.

Edward S. Boyden is the Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology at MIT; leader of the Synthetic Neurobiology Group in the MIT Media Lab; associate professor of biological engineering and of brain and cognitive sciences; a McGovern Institute investigator; co-director of the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering; and a member of the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences, Computational and Systems Biology Initiative, and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.

Boyden develops new tools for probing, analyzing, and engineering brain circuits. He uses a range of approaches, including synthetic biology, nanotechnology, chemistry, electrical engineering, and optics to develop tools capable of revealing fundamental mechanisms underlying complex brain processes. He pioneered the development of optogenetics, a powerful method that enables neuronal activity to be controlled with light. He also led the team that invented expansion microscopy, in which a specimen is embedded in a gel that swells as it absorbs water, thereby expanding nanoscale features to a size where they can be seen using conventional microscopes. He is now seeking to systematically integrate these technologies to create detailed maps and models of brain circuitry.

Read the full story by Melanie Miller Kaufman, Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT News.