The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award goes to the architects of optogenetics, which uses light to probe and modulate the workings of the brain

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine goes in this eighth edition to neuroscientists Edward Boyden, Karl Deisseroth and Gero Miesenböck for the development of optogenetics, a method to study brain function with unprecedented resolution. In a bare five years, thousands of groups the world over have begun using optogenetics to investigate functions like sleep, appetite, decision-making, temporal perception or the creation of memories, and elucidate the mechanisms of conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, depression and certain forms of blindness.