February 2018                                                          View this email in your browser


Annual message from our Directors

Seven new faculty members, $103M in federal BRAIN Initiative funding to generate paradigm-shifting neurotechnologies, launch of the The Radical Ideas in Brain Science Challenge funded through philanthropy, and at the heart of it all, our outstanding faculty members, students, and postdocs. Director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and the Berkeley Brain Initiative, Ehud Isacoff, and PhD Program Director, Michael Silver, review the biggest accomplishments of the previous year, and preview what is to come in 2018. Read more… 

CRISPR proves promising for treating ALS in mice

David Schaffer and colleagues have used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to disable a defective gene that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in mice, delaying onset of symptoms and extending life. Read the story in The Scientist and Gizmodo, and the research article in Science Advances.



Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience unveils new website

Home to faculty, postdocs, and students who study theories of computation in the brain, the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience is one of five research and technology centers supported by the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. Explore...

Research discoveries


The promise of stem cells: Regeneration in the adult nervous system

The Ngai Lab tracks stem cells that are generated following injury to better understand how they are able to repair damaged tissues. Read about their latest publication in Cell Stem Cell, including Q&A with first author and PhD Program graduate Levi Gadye (2010-2016). Learn more...


The path to happiness is complicated: Dopamine circuitry in the brain

Through in depth studies of dopamine circuitry, the Lammel Lab discovered that there are different dopamine sub-circuits that produce opposing behaviors. Read about their latest publication in Neuron, including Q&A with first author and postdoctoral fellow Hongbin Yang. Learn more...


The hidden link: Identifying cognitive processes that transform perception into action

Berkeley researchers want to know how the brain uses incoming sensory information to decide how to act. Read about a recent Knight Lab publication in Nature Human Behavior, including Q&A with first author and PhD Program graduate Matar Haller (2010-2016). Learn more...

The sensory code: Shape and texture discrimination in the cortex

Berkeley faculty gain insight into how the brain multiplexes different types of sensory information. Read about the latest publication from the Feldman Lab in Neuron, including Q&A with first author and PhD Program graduate Brian Isett (2010-2017). Learn more...

Honors and Awards


Landry selected as Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience

Markita Landry, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute faculty member and Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator, was selected as a 2018 Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience for her research developing tools to study brain chemistry. Read more about Landry’s efforts to visualize neuromodulators in the brain, including Q&A...


Jenkins named APS Rising Star

Adrianna Jenkins, postdoctoral scholar in Ming Hsu's Neuroeconomics Lab, named one of the Association for Psychological Science Rising Stars of 2018. Jenkins will start as Assistant Professor of Psychology at UPenn later this year, where she will study contextual flexibility in human thought and behavior. Read more about her research...

Student and Alumni Profiles


The stuff of friendship: PhD Program alum Annaliese Beery studies the neuroendocrinology of peer affiliation

Beery is currently Associate Professor of Psychology at Smith College, where she does comparative studies to understand the mechanisms underlying social behavior. In this profile, Beery talks about her research interests, career path, and what it is like to run a research lab at a liberal arts college. Read more... 

Neuroscientist Portrait Project: Tobias Schmid

Berkeley Neuroscience PhD student Tobias Schmid uses bats to study the neural circuits that underlie the mammalian ability to learn vocalizations. Learn more about the person behind the science...
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley
175 Li Ka Shing Center MC 3370
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720

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Content by Georgeann Sack. Please email me at with ideas for news or research you want featured in the newsletter.