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A light switch for neurons

TED2011 · 18:24 · Filmed Mar 2011
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Ed Boyden shows how, by inserting genes for light-sensitive proteins into brain cells, he can selectively activate or de-activate specific neurons with fiber-optic implants. With this unprecedented level of control, he's managed to cure mice of analogs of PTSD and certain forms of blindness. On the horizon: neural prosthetics. Session host Juan Enriquez leads a brief post-talk Q&A.

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Neuroengineer
At the MIT Media Lab, Ed Boyden leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which invents technologies to reveal how cognition and emotion arise from brain networks — and to enable systematic repair of disorders such as epilepsy and PTSD. Full bio

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