Institute for Brain and Mind @UCSD

Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind (KIBM) researchers bridge disciplinary boundaries to further understanding of the origins, evolution and mechanisms of human cognition, from the brain's physical and biochemical machinery to the experiences and behaviors we call the mind.

Its advisory board includes scientists and clinicians from UCSD departments of cognitive science, neurobiology, psychology, psychiatry, neurosciences, radiology, and philosophy. The Scripps Research Institute, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and The Neurosciences Institute are also represented on the KIBM board.

UCSD Neuroscience

The University of California at San Diego (UCSD) leads the nation as the top neurosciences department in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

With about 120 faculty members, UC San Diego's Neuroscience department is among the nation's largest. The program's labs, medical centers and clinics are located in the heart of the San Diego life sciences district. There are many research centers at UCSD including Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind; Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience; and Research in Neuroscience at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Ralph Greenspan, PhD – UCSD

Associate Director, Kavli Institute for Mind and Brain 
Professor, Neurobiology UCSD and Director, Center for Brain Activity Mapping
Co-Director, Cal-Brain

Dr. Greenspan was part of a team of six that proposed in 2012 a Brain Activity Map which morphed into the BRAIN Initiative. One of his main interests currently is to understand the role of network level activity in the nervous system and among the genes, motivated by a strong belief that the state of these networks is of major importance in determining behavior.

Jacopo Annese, PhD – UCSD

Assistant Professor, UCSD School of Medicine
President/CEO, Institute for Brain and Society
Affiliate, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Studies

Dr. Annese's primary goal in the field of neuroscience is to conduct research that is open to public engagement and promotes the highest standards in data sharing and collaboration within the scientific community.

David Kleinfeld, PhD – UCSD

Professor of Biophysics
Director, David Kleinfeld Laboratory

David Kleinfeld and his colleagues take biophysical and computational approaches to bridge phenomena at different levels in the brain, ranging from intracellular electrophysiology to multi-cellular recording to animal behavior. This provides an opportunity to discover algorithms and principles that underlie computations within nervous systems. In additional, they develop instrumentation and analysis procedures that facilitate the study of physiology.

Eliciting brain plasticity

"Eliciting brain plasticity to keep the body moving"
Science Nation - March 28, 2014

With support from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Emerging Frontiers of Research and Innovation (EFRI) program, bioengineer Gert Cauwenberghs, of the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Institute for Neural Computation at the UC San Diego, and his colleagues are working to understand how brain circuitry controls how we move. The goal is to develop new technologies to help patients with Parkinson's disease and other debilitating medical conditions navigate the world on their own.

Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD – UCSD/Salk

Professor of Biological Sciences at UCSD and Head ofComputational Neurobiology Laboratory (CNL) at Salk Institute
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Member of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director

Sejnowski is interested in the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex, which holds our knowledge of the world and how to interact with it. Sejnowski's team uses sophisticated electrical and chemical monitoring techniques to measure changes that occur in the connections among nerve cells in the hippocampus during a simple form of learning.

Roger Y. Tsien, PhD – UCSD

Professor of Pharmacology and Chemistry/Biochemistry, UC San Diego
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Member of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director

Roger Tsien's lab studies signal transduction, especially in neurons and cancer cells, with the help of designed molecules, imaging, and photochemical manipulation. The overall goal of his lab is to gain a better understanding of signaling inside individual living cells, in neuronal networks, and in tumors. We design, synthesize, and use new molecules that detect or manipulate biochemical signals.

3 clues to understanding your brain

"Vilayanur Ramachandran tells us what brain damage can reveal about the connection between celebral tissue and the mind, using three startling delusions as examples."

Filmed march 2007 at TED 2007
Uploaded to YouTube on October 23, 2007 by TED

Understanding the Mind by Mapping the Brain

"Understanding the Mind by Mapping the Brain"
Science Nation – August 4, 2011

Jacopo Annese, Director of the Brain Observatory at the University of California, San Diego is on a quest to collect, dissect, and digitize images of the human brain for the Digital Brain Library, which was launched with support from the National Science Foundation. Annese and his team look for connections, mapping brain structure and connecting it to human behavior.

Flexible materials for innovative brain research

Research within the BRAIN Initiative is using flexible materials to transform the way we study the brain. Researcher Todd Coleman discusses his research on flexible materials and how it's being used to monitor everything from cognitive impairment to brain injuries.

For more information about the BRAIN Initiative visit:

NSF BRAIN Initiative
Published APRIL 2, 2014

The Brain Observatory

Neuroanatomist Dr. Jacopo Annese at UCSD, is curating a vast virtual collection of brains that will be housed online, called the Digial Brain Library.

The effort actually began a few years ago when The Brain Observatory at UC San Diego was charged with the examination of the brain of Henry G. Molaison, an amnesic who famously could not hold any memory longer than twenty seconds.

David Kleinfeld Laboratory – UCSD

Principal Investigator: David Kleinfeld
UCSD Neuroscience; Neurophysics Research

Active sensation: how orofacial behaviors, with emphasis on the vibrissa sensorimotor system, encode a stable world view through actively moving sensors.
Microcirculation in the Brain: the structure and control of cortical blood flow, and variations in that flow, at the level of vascular networks down to that of individual microvessels.
CNiFERs: uses of cell-based sensors of signaling molecules to study volume transmission and neuromodulation in behaving animals.

Tsien Lab – UCSD

Principal Investigator: Roger Tsien
Research Scientist: John Yu-Luen Lin

The multicolored fluorescent proteins developed in Tsien's lab are used by scientists to track where and when certain genes are expressed in cells or in whole organisms. Typically, the gene coding for a protein of interest is fused with the gene for a fluorescent protein, which causes the protein of interest to glow inside the cell when the cell is irradiated with ultraviolet light and allows microscopists to track its location in real time. This is such a popular technique that it has added a new dimension to the fields of molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemistry.

Connectivity of brain stem circuits

Principal Investigator: David Kleinfeld
UCSD Neuroscience
Title: "Revealing the connectivity and functionality of brain stem circuits"
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Kleinfeld and his colleagues will use a variety of tools and techniques to create detailed maps of circuits in the brainstem, the region that regulates many life-sustaining functions such as breathing and swallowing, and match the circuits to actions they control.

Optogenetic mapping of synaptic activity

Principal Investigator: John Yu-Luen Lin
Neuroscience at UCSD
Title: "Optogenetic mapping of synaptic activity and control of intracellular signaling"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Lin's team will create molecules that, when they are triggered by a pulse of light, allow scientists to test for communication between neurons in specific circuits of the brain.

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