Ed Boyden: Creating Tools and Disrupting Neuroscience

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“I think we ought to integrate the maps of the brain, the dynamics of the brain, and the ability to control the brain into single coherent datasets” ~ Ed Boyden, MIT

Near the end of 2015, Dr. Ed Boyden of MIT Media lab, McGovern Institute, and Synthetic Neurobiology Group, was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences as co-inventor of optogenetics. The ability to activate or inhibit individual neurons with light and genetically expressed opsins was and continues to be revolutionary for neuroscience. Since Ed and Karl Deisseroth published their first paper using light to control neural activity in 2005, optogenetics has been adopted worldwide, and has become critical for neural circuit research. Now that it’s been 12 years, what has optogenetics done for neuroscience? What’s the therapeutic potential? What does the future of optogenetics hold? (Hint: part of the answer lies in the quote above.)

Ed Boyden answers these questions and many more during our interview for the Inscopix Podcast Series. We talked about latest inventions that have come from Ed’s group, plus we got into Ed Boyden’s head to unpack his approach to innovation.

In addition to being a neurotechnologist, Ed is also an entrepreneur, and has now started several companies that spun out from innovations in his lab. We talked about Cognito Therapeutics, a company he cofounded with Dr. Li Huei Tsai, also of MIT, in addition to other topics around entrepreneurship. Is entrepreneurship a way to attract the best minds to neuroscience research?

My favorite part of the podcast is when Ed talks about groundtruth innovation. Find out what he says!

This podcast has something for everyone!

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