Miller Research Fellowships provide support to exceptional individuals who intend to pursue promising postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley. Among the 11 awardees for 2017-2020 are Nikhil Bhatla and Louis Kang. Please join us in extending our congratulations and welcoming them to our Berkeley Neuroscience community.
Nikhil Bhatla will be starting in the Adesnik lab in September 2017, where he will study visual perception in a mouse model of blindsight, a neurological condition in which patients lose the conscious experience of seeing but can still accurately locate visual stimuli and guess their properties.
For millennia, humans have contemplated how it is that we are conscious, that is, how we have subjective experience or qualia. A model of blindsight will enable identification of neural circuits that contribute specifically to the conscious component of vision, and ultimately to development of a general theory of why some neural circuits support experience and others do not.
I chose Berkeley for my postdoc because of the impressive neuroscience research being done there. I met with several labs at Berkeley, and I was most drawn to the work of Hillel’s lab. The environment in his lab is full of energy, and I am very excited to start working there. I have a diverse set of interests, and the fact that the Miller Fellows program includes many fields of research, not just neuroscience, greatly attracted me. I also love the culture of Berkeley as both a university and a city, as it is one I find unique and of great character.
Louis Kang will be starting in the DeWeese lab in August 2017, where he will study sensory processing, spatial navigation, and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. His goal is to determine the computational features of neural networks that maintain representations of objects and space.
The overarching mission of my career is the investigation of human biology and pathology through quantitative analysis. Since human cognition is fundamentally a quantitative phenomenon that emerges from networks of neurons, I decided to pursue a post-doc in theoretical neuroscience.
UC Berkeley and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute host the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, which is not only known for its scientific output but also for its collegial atmosphere. I look forward to immersing myself within the HWNI community and, with backgrounds in physics and medicine, engaging with the renowned Physics and Chemistry departments at UC Berkeley and physicians at UC San Francisco.