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Published on Mar 27, 2017

Edward Boyden is a Hertz Foundation Fellow and recipient of the prestigious Hertz Foundation Grant for graduate study in the applications of the physical, biological and engineering sciences. A professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Edward Boyden explains how humanity is only at its infancy in merging with machines. His work is leading him towards the development of a “brain co-processor”, a device that interacts intimately with the brain to upload and download information to and from it, augmenting human capabilities in memory storage, decision making, and cognition. The first step, however, is understanding the brain on a much deeper level. With the support of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, Ed Boyden pursued a PhD in neurosciences from Stanford University.
Transcript: Humans and machines have been merging for thousands of years. Right now I’m wearing shoes, I have a microphone on my jacket, we all probably used our phones at least once today… And we communicate with the augmentation of all sorts of amplification and even translation technologies: You can speak into a machine, and it’ll translate the words you’re saying in nearly real time.

Also see Optogenetics, Volume 196: Tools for Controlling and Monitoring Neuronal Activity (Progress in Brain Research)

Optogenetics is a fast-growing field concerning the invention, and use, of molecules that are genetically expressed in cells, and then either report on cellular physiology in optical form, or enable control of specific pathways in cells when actuated by light. This book reviews the current state, as well as the underlying principles and future directions, of a diversity of optogenetic tools of importance for observing and controlling cellular signaling and physiology.

These tools are already revolutionizing neuroscience, and are starting to have impact on fields ranging from metabolism to development to cardiology. The book contains a dozen chapters written by world experts on these topics, half focusing on the optogenetic molecular tools themselves, and half on the genetic and hardware approaches that make them powerfully useful in intact tissues and organisms.

Leading authors review the state-of-the-art in their field of investigation and provide their views and perspectives for future research
Chapters are extensively referenced to provide readers with a comprehensive list of resources on the topics covered
All chapters include comprehensive background information and are written in a clear form that is also accessible to the non-specialist