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Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Synthetic Neurobiology Group (2018)

Blue light hitting a neural network in which one kind of neuron is light-sensitive, and only that kind of neuron is activated. (Photo courtesy of the MIT Synthetic Neurobiology Group)
Organization Name 
Award Date 
2/2018
Grant Amount 
$3,000,000
Purpose 
To support development of expansion microscopy, led by Professor Ed Boyden.
Topic (focus area) 

Grant investigators: Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. Representatives of the MIT Synthetic Neurobiology Group reviewed this page prior to publication.

The Open Philanthropy Project recommended a gift of $3,000,000 over two years to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Synthetic Neurobiology Group, led by Ed Boyden, to support research on the development and application of expansion microscopy to imaging of brains from a variety of organisms. We are particularly intrigued by the possibility that this method may be used to visualize how the tightly packed neural cells in vertebrate brains are connected to each other at a dramatically lower cost than would otherwise be possible with existing technology. If successful, we believe this could have dramatic implications for a variety of sub-fields within brain research. To learn more about the Synthetic Neurobiology Group and our reasons for supporting it, see our March 2016 gift page.

This gift falls within our interest in funding scientific research.