Ed Boyden: Creating tools and disrupting neuroscience

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.)

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