Dr Ed Boyden is Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab, where he leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group. He also holds joint appointments in the Department of Biological Engineering, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and the McGovern Institute at MIT. He holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in physics, electrical engineering, and computer science from MIT and a PhD degree in neuroscience from Stanford. Dr Boyden, collaborating with Karl Deisseroth and colleagues, reported on utilization of the light-gated cation channel channelrhodopsin-2 to make neurons controllable by light in 2005, which opened new doors for experimentation in neuroscience. Since then, Dr Boyden and his laboratory have continued to research and refine optogenetic tools and to develop other technologies for analyzing and engineering brain circuits. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the inaugural A.F. Harvey Prize (2011) and the Perl/UNC Prize (2011).