Neuroscientist tackles question: ‘What IF Breakthrough Technologies Could Make Us Smarter?’

A leading neuroscientist discussed recent advances in genome editing technologies, addressing the question of “What IF Breakthrough Technologies Could Make Us Smarter?” during an Oct. 15 event at Purdue University.

Dr. Guoping Feng, professor of neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology researches the biological mechanisms of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Joined by Purdue Pharmacy Dean Eric Barker, Dr. Feng presented his thoughts on the potential applications and impacts of new genome-editing technologies on neuroscience research and society. (Purdue University/ Mark Simons)Guoping Feng’s presentation, “Live Long and Prosper: The Promise of Science (Fiction) and Medicine,” was sponsored by the College of Pharmacy.

The event was part of Purdue’s Ideas Festival, the centerpiece of the university’s Purdue’s Giant Leaps Sesquicentennial Campaign, which is a series of events that connect world-renowned speakers and Purdue expertise in a conversation on the most critical problems facing the world. One of the Ideas Festival’s themes is health, longevity and quality of life.

This conversation focused on the recent advances in genome-editing technologies that are revolutionizing biomedical research and medicine. Together with large-scale genetic studies identifying genetic factors causing or increasing risks for brain disorders, these new technologies are creating unprecedented opportunities to explore the neurobiological underpinning of cognition and behavior with the potential to cure brain disorders and perhaps enhance cognition and change behaviors. Feng discussed the potential applications and impacts of these new technologies to neuroscience research and society.

Dr. Guoping Feng, professor of neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology researches the biological mechanisms of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Joined by Purdue Pharmacy Dean Eric Barker, Dr. Feng presented his thoughts on the potential applications and impacts of new genome-editing technologies on neuroscience research and society. (Purdue University/ Mark Simons)Feng is the Poitras Chair Professor of Neuroscience in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also is an institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the director of model systems and neurobiology at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute. Feng’s research is devoted to understanding the mechanisms regulating the development and function of synapses in the brain and how synaptic dysfunction may contribute to psychiatric disorders. Using genetically engineered animal models, Feng’s laboratory combines cutting-edge technologies and multidisciplinary approaches to unravel the neurobiological mechanisms of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders.

Feng studied medicine at Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China. He did his doctoral training with Linda Hall at the State University of New York at Buffalo and postdoctoral training with Joshua Sanes at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to joining the faculty at MIT, he was a faculty member in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University School of Medicine. Feng has won numerous awards for his scientific achievement including Beckman Young Investigator Award, McKnight Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Award, Gill Young Investigator Award, Brain Research Foundation Science Innovation Award, Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award, and election to American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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