Ed Boyden has been elected to join the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The organization, established by an act of Congress during the height of the Civil War, was founded to provide independent and objective advice on scientific matters to the nation, and is actively engaged in furthering science in the United States. Each year NAS members recognize fellow scientists through election to the academy based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
Boyden’s research creates and applies technologies that aim to expand our understanding of the brain. He notably co-invented optogenetics as an independent side collaboration, conducted in parallel to his PhD studies, a game-changing technology that has revolutionized neurobiology. This technology uses targeted expression of light-sensitive channels and pumps to activate or suppress neuronal activity in vivo using light. Optogenetics quickly swept the field of neurobiology and has been leveraged to understand how specific neurons and brain regions contribute to behavior and to disease.