Annual Message from Michael Silver

Director, Neuroscience PhD Program (2017-present)
Professor of Optometry and Vision Science and Neuroscience

-January 29, 2019-

This year the Berkeley Neuroscience PhD Program reached a milestone — our one hundredth graduate! Our program has now been in existence for 19 years, and it is inspiring to see all the ways in which our alumni are making meaningful and impactful contributions in the world. Current positions held by Berkeley Neuroscience alumni include many faculty members at outstanding research universities, data scientists in both academia and industry, CEOs, university instructors, and a wide variety of corporate research jobs. More detailed information is available in our profiles of current students and alumni.

PhD Program alum and new faculty member Emily Cooper. Read our Q&A with her here.
Based on Ryan Neely et al. “Volitional Modulation of Primary Visual Cortex Activity Requires the Basal Ganglia,” (Neuron, 2018). Click to read a Q&A about the paper.

Emily Cooper, who graduated from Berkeley Neuroscience in 2012, became an Assistant Professor in the UC Berkeley School of Optometry and joined the Neuroscience Program this year, making her the first person to be both a graduate student and faculty member in our program. Welcome back, Emily!

From Matar Haller et al. “Persistent neuronal activity in human prefrontal cortex links perception and action” (Nature Human Behavior, 2018). Click to read Q&A about the paper.

Congratulations to Katie Arnemann, Keven LaBoy, Amy LeMessurier, Falk Lieder, Kim Long, Elizabeth Lorenc, Alex Naka, Anwar Núñez-Elizalde, Elena Ryapolova-Webb, Vlad Senatorov, and Wren Thomas, all of whom obtained their Neuroscience PhD in 2018. These students comprise the largest graduating class in the history of our program, and we are excited to see what their future will bring. Over the past year, our students have made many influential discoveries and advances across all areas of neuroscience. You can see a selection of their publications here.

In addition to Emily Cooper, faculty members Eric Betzig, John Clarke, and Lexin Li joined the Berkeley Neuroscience Program in 2018, bringing the number of research groups in our program to 64. We also welcomed an impressive group of first-year graduate students: Erin Aisenberg, Marisa Becerra, Julia Bleier, Katie Cording, Matt Davis, Mark Gorenstein, Azure Grant, Madeline Klinger, Sonali Mali, and Brett Nelson.

2018 first-year students – Top row: Matt Davis, Erin Aisenberg, Marisa Becerra, Julia Bleier, Brett Nelson, Mark Gorenstein Bottom row: Katie Cording, Madeline Klinger, Sonali Mali, Azure Grant

​Last year we welcomed our talented class of first-year graduate students: Matt Davis, Erin Aisenberg, Marisa Becerra, Julia Bleier, Brett Nelson, Mark Gorenstein, Katie Cording, Madeline Klinger, Sonali Mali, and Azure Grant.  ​

Members of the Berkeley Neuroscience community have received many prestigious honors and awards over the past year. To name a few, Yang Dan and Udi Iscaoff were elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Marla Feller was one of three recipients of the UC Berkeley Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award, Helen Bateup was honored with the C.J. Herrick Award in Neuroanatomy, Markita Landry was named a Sloan Research Fellow, and Hayley Bounds, Celia Ford, and Kevin Yu were awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

In the coming year, I look forward to learning about the groundbreaking discoveries that will be made by our graduate students and faculty, strengthening the Berkeley Neuroscience community, and continuing to improve the quality of training, education, and development of the next generation of neuroscientists.