Ed Boyden, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Media Lab and McGovern Institute, Departments of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Co-Director, MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Building E15: E15-421, 20 Ames St., Cambridge, MA 02139 (mailing address)
Building 46: 46-2171C, 43 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
phone - (617) 324-3085
email -
web -
twitter -

Directions to the lab

Here is a map to our group's building E15 headquarters, in the MIT Media Lab. It is just southwest of the Kendall T-stop on the MBTA red line. Enter the building covered with off-white square tiles, 20 Ames St., then take the elevator or stairs to the 4th floor, turn right through the gray doors, and go down the hallway about 1/3 of the way to find the E15-421 complex.

Here is a map to our group's building 46 headquarters, in the MIT McGovern Institute. It is on Main Street, two blocks west of the Kendall T-stop on the MBTA red line. Enter the Brain and Cognitive Sciences building from the McGovern Institute entrance on Main Street, then take the elevator or stairs to the 2nd floor, and follow the signs to 46-2171C.

Here are directions to the MIT campus by private or public transportation, as well as the locations of parking locations on campus. Metered parking is available in front of both laboratory locations. Please schedule meetings in advance by emailing Ed Boyden at, especially since his lab has multiple locations.

Neurotechnology training program

We welcome visitors to our lab to learn how to do expansion microscopy, optogenetics, in vivo robotics, and other neurotechnology-driven experiments, in order to apply such neurotechnologies to novel scientific and biological questions. Visitors typically stay for ~1-2 day periods, observing us perform experimental procedures (tissue processing, optics, physiology, etc.) that we are performing on those days, appropriate to the interest of the visitor. Visitors are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses. If you are interested in arranging such a visit, please email Ed Boyden at with (1) a paragraph of background skills and training (so that we can tune training appropriately; a certain amount of background knowledge and experience is essential for advanced training to be practical), and (2) a paragraph describing the project you are doing and what kinds of training you are interested in (so that we can schedule your visit and appointments appropriately), with the email subject line beginning with "[neurotech-training]". It is very important to be very specific about what you want to learn; we cannot accomodate general lab tours. It is also important that you have enough background in the area, that a 1-2 day visit will meaningfully impact your research. We will try to accomodate all appropriate requests.

How to collaborate or partner with us

We freely distribute all of the technologies we invent, to the maximum extent possible. We and our partners have distributed our tools to thousands of research groups in academia and industry since we began work at MIT in 2006. For researchers in non-profit groups, we can send you tools directly and rapidly; we partner with many other non-profit institutions to distribute our tools. See our Resources web page for more information. Write to Ed Boyden at to learn more.

We also have a large number of collaborators in industry. One of the several vehicles for industrial collaboration with our lab is through the Media Lab Sponsorship Program. We also engage in other undirected and directed projects with industrial partners both large and small. We are always eager to hear from groups interested in applying our technologies to problems, or who want to work on problems together. Several startup companies have been launched by lab members as well.

We partner with many philanthropists, foundations, and non-profit institutions as well, to work on creating new neurotechnologies or answering scientific questions; in fact, this is a prime way that we help broadly positively impact science and medicine.

We have also created an MIT fund to which you can directly donate, to support invention and application of new technologies towards the development of systematic new brain analyses and strategies for approaching neural disorders. Here is the donation site to support our research via the MIT giving web page; look for the category "Neurotechnology Fund (3893630)" in order to make a donation to support our research.

How to join the lab

Independent, energetic postdoctoral fellow candidates with a passion for creating the future are encouraged to write. I like to regard a postdoctoral experience in my lab as a mutually educational and collaborative journey into the inventing or solving of something really important. Please feel free to write with a description of your experiences, interests, and current and future goals. Ideally it would be best if you could also have three letters of reference emailed to me. Coming with fellowship funding (Helen Hay Whitney, LSRF, etc.) is always a plus.

Graduate students from almost any MIT department can do research in our lab. Medical, Ph.D., or M.D.-Ph.D. students in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, and in the M.D. program of Harvard Medical School, are also welcome. Many of our lab members come from the MIT Ph.D. programs in Biological Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Health Science and Technology, Physics, Computational and Systems Biology, Mechanical Engineering, or Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Information on applying directly to our home department, the Media Arts and Sciences program, can be found here, although be aware that since this program doesn't allow for rotations in multiple groups, there's no way to "try out" a lab before committing to it. Thus we often recommend people to apply to one of the other departments or programs, which do allow for rotations in multiple groups, or to contact me well in advance so we can interact over time and gauge whether it's a good match. I also suggest that you secure a graduate research fellowship (NSF, NDSEG, Hertz, etc.).

Undergraduates interested in doing research should write to me directly, including a CV and also a description of what your short-term and long-term research interests are (see the report on our lab's UROP philosophy here).

We involve many members of the community, including retirees, alums, and entrepreneurs, in our research activities. (In fact, this may be one of the many things that makes our lab interesting, that we view research as a community activity, as delineated in this essay.) If you are interested in contributing, write to me and we can explore possibilities. In particular, we are seeking new kinds of collaboration with retired engineers and scientists, as well as entrepreneurs- and venture capitalists-in-residence.