Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute

The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI) at UC Berkeley is an active, collaborative research community that investigates fundamental questions about how the brain functions.

Using approaches from many disciplines (including biophysics, chemistry, cognitive science, computer science, genetics, mathematics, molecular and cell biology, physics, and physiology), HWNI seeks to understand how the brain generates behavior and cognition, and to better understand, diagnose and treat neurological disorders.

Paul Alivisatos, PhD – UC Berkeley

Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley
Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Director, Kavli Energy Nanosciences Institute

Dr. Alivisatos research breakthroughs include the synthesis of size- and shape-controlled nanoscrystals, and forefront studies of nanocrystal properties, including optical, electrical, structural and thermodynamic. He was also part of a team of six that proposed in 2012 a Brain Activity Map which morphed into the BRAIN Initiative.

Hawkins: How brain science will change computing

Palm creator Jeff Hawkins urges us to take a new look at the brain -- to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next.

Filmed Feb. 2003 at TED 2003

NIH Neuroscience Seminar- June 15, 2015

TITLE: Photo-control of endogenous ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors in the CNS

AUTHOR: Richard Kramer, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

TIME: 12:00:00 PM DATE: Monday, June 15, 2015

PLACE: Porter Neuroscience Research Center

Live NIH Videocast (archived after seminar)

Richard Kramer, PhD – Berkeley

Associate Professor of Neurobiology, UC Berkeley
Director, Kramer Lab

Kramer uses a combination of optical, electrophysiological, and molecular methods to study ion channels, the proteins that generate electrical signals, and synaptic transmission, the process that allows a neuron to communicate chemically with other cells. Many of our most recent studies utilize novel chemical reagents, designed to manipulate or monitor the function of ion channels and synapses. Current Project: Optical studies of synaptic transmission in the retina.

Kramer Lab – Stanford

Principal Investigator: Richard Kramer
UC Berkeley Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute

Kramer Lab studies utilize novel chemical reagents to modify the function of ion channels and synapses. This Chemical-Biological approach is designed to allow non-invasive optical sensing and optical manipulation of channels and synapses in the nervous system. One major goal of this research is to develop the technology for restoring vision in degenerative blinding diseases.

Single Cell Transcriptomics Classification

PI: John J. Ngai, Ngai Lab
University of California Berkeley
Title: "Classification of Cortical Neurons by Single Cell Transcriptomics"
BRAIN Category: Census of Cell Types (RFA MH-14-215)

To understand what makes neurons distinct, Dr. Ngai's team will explore one major type of mouse brain cell, pinpointing genes responsible for differentiating them into subtypes and will also test whether each subtype has unique functions, using a new technique that labels them with tagged genes.

Ngai Lab

Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Director, John Ngai

The Ngai Lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying the development and function of the vertebrate olfactory system using molecular, genomic, computational and behavioral approaches. The Ngai Lab is also leveraging high-throughput genomic and genome engineering techniques. Ngai Lab aims to make significant discoveries on the molecules, cells and circuits underlying the development, regeneration and function of the nervous system during normal processes and disease.

John J. Ngai, PhD – Berkeley

Professor of Neurobiology, Coates Family Professor of Neuroscience, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Director, QB3 Functional Genomics Laboratory

My focus is understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the function, development and regeneration of the vertebrate olfactory system. My lab uses a wide range of experimental tools and model systems, including molecular biology, genomics, computational biology and behavior to study these processes using the mouse and zebrafish as model systems.

UC Berkeley-Zeiss BrainMIC

University of California, Berkeley and Carl Zeiss Microscopy are investing $12 million to create the Berkeley Brain Microscopy Innovation Center (BrainMIC).

The BrainMIC will fast-track microscopy development for emerging neurotechnologies and will run an annual course to teach researchers how to use the new technologies. The UC Berkeley Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute is creating a program that will generate innovative devices and analytic tools in engineering, computation, chemistry, and molecular biology to enable transformative brain science from studies of human cognition to neural circuits in model organisms.

Optical control of synaptic transmission

Principal Investigator: Richard Kramer
UC Berkeley Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Title: " Optical control of synaptic transmission for in vivo analysis of brain circuits and behavior"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Kramer's team will develop light-triggered chemical compounds that selectively activate or inhibit neurotransmitter receptors on neurons, to precisely control the signals sent between brain cells in behaving animals.

MRI Corticography (MRCoG)

Principal Investigator: David Alan Feinberg
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Title: "MRI Corticography (MRCoG): Micro-scale Human Cortical Imaging"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

To image the activity and connections of the brain's cortex on a micro scale – with dramatically higher resolution than existing scanners – Dr. Feinberg's group will employ high sensitivity MRI coils that focus exclusively on the brain's surface.

Advanced MRI Technologies (AMRIT)

President, Advanced MRI Technologies (AMRIT)

AMRIT is a research and development company in the field of medical and scientific imaging. The main objective is to find new uses for MRI and to provide the technical knowledge needed to conduct medical and neuroscience studies with the advanced MRI methods. The specific focus of AMRIT is in brain, heart and cancer studies with magnetic resonance imaging.

NIH Neuroscience Seminar – Feb. 11, 2013

TITLE: Regulation of glutamate receptors and synaptic plasticity in the brain

AUTHOR: Richard Huganir, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

TIME: 12:00:00 PM DATE: Monday, Feb 11, 2013

Archived NIH Videocast

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