Technology & Health
Seminar Series 2018-19
"Mapping and Repairing the Brain:
Implications for Global Health"
Dr. Ed Boyden
Synthetic Neurobiology Group, MIT
Brain disorders affect more than a billion people worldwide. Yet cures are few and treatment options inadequate. Traditional ways of examining the brain, such as using an fMRI, have poor resolution and are unable to pinpoint the exact molecular changes causing disease. However, novel technologies are being developed that let scientist peer inside the brain like never before. This includes tools that allow cells and molecules to be imaged with nanoscale precision, as well technologies to enable the activation and silencing of brain activity with light. These technologies, while designed for the brain, also are starting to have impact on the fields of cancer, immunity, and infectious disease, and thus may generally help with the understanding and confrontation of global health challenges.
Dr. Boyden is the Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology at MIT, associate professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT's Media Lab and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and was recently selected to be an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2018). He leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which develops tools for analyzing and repairing complex biological systems such as the brain, and applies them systematically to reveal ground truth principles of biological function as well as to repair these systems.