Despite library shelves sagging under the weight of neurology books, what we know about the brain so far is unfledged. MIT professor Edward Boyden explains how research teams are using expansion microscopy to map the densely packed neurons so we can understand how the brain is wired and apply that to human therapies. He also explains a technology called optogenetics (using light to control cells) that he hopes will do many things like restore eyesight, dial back Alzheimer’s disease, and shut down epilepsy seizures. 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. With the support of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, he pursued a PhD in neurosciences from Stanford University. The Hertz Foundation mission is to provide unique financial and fellowship support to the nation’s most remarkable PhD students in the hard sciences. Hertz Fellowships are among the most prestigious in the world, and the foundation has invested over $200 million in Hertz Fellows since 1963 (present value) and supported over 1,100 brilliant and creative young scientists, who have gone on to become Nobel laureates, high-ranking military personnel, astronauts, inventors, Silicon Valley leaders, and tenured university professors.

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