Annual Message from Michael Silver

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

-February 1st, 2018-

It is an honor for me to assume the position of Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program, following Dan Feldman’s five years of outstanding leadership and service to our neuroscience community.

PhD Program alums. Left: Brian Isett (2010-2017). Right: Allyson Mackey (2007-2012). Click to view alumni profiles.

I am particularly excited about my new opportunities to work with the graduate students in our program. Our students are the heart and soul of the Berkeley Neuroscience community, and they are an impressive and inspiring group. You can learn more about our students by reading profiles of individual current students and alumni.

From Levi Gadye et al. “Injury Activates Transient Olfactory Stem Cell States with Diverse Lineage Capacities,” (Cell Stem Cell, 2017). Click to read Q&A about the paper.

Over the past year, our students have made critical contributions to many discoveries across all of neuroscience. You can see a selection of their publications here. After earning their PhD, our program alumni continue to make significant impact in careers in academia and industry. Since we awarded our first PhD in 2006, the vast majority of our 88 graduates have taken a postdoctoral research position. There are currently 25 alumni with academic faculty positions, 23 who are postdocs, and 29 who hold industry positions in a wide variety of companies.

From Matar Haller et al. “Persistent neuronal activity in human prefrontal cortex links perception and action” (Nature Human Behavior, 2017). Click to read Q&A about the paper.

Our faculty members have received many prestigious honors over the past year. These include Mark D’Esposito, Marla Feller, and Bob Knight being elected as AAAS Fellows, McKnight Scholar Awards to Stephen Brohawn and Michael Yartsev, and major NIH Brain Initiative grants to construct a comprehensive brain atlas at the cellular level and to build a brain scanner that will offer unprecedented resolution for imaging the human brain.

Our 2017 class

Last year we welcomed our talented class of first-year graduate students: Dariya Bakshinskaya, Hayley Bounds, Celia Ford, Lily Gong, Molly LaPoint, Sylvia Madhow, Ryan Schultz, Christiane Voufo, and Ellen Zippi. We also added five new faculty members to the neuroscience program in 2017: Na Ji, Markita Landry, Teresa Puthussery, Rowland Taylor, and Kevin Weiner. Additionally, Eric Betzig will be joining our community later this year, bringing the number of research groups in our program to 61.

In the coming year, I look forward to many more research discoveries and technological breakthroughs by our neuroscience community and the continuing scientific development of our graduate students. With this group as part of the next generation of leaders in our field, the future of neuroscience is very bright indeed!