February 27th, 2017

Sara Popham, Gallant Lab. Photo by Reynaldo Cayetano Jr. Click to read her Neuroscientist Portrait Project profile.

The Neuroscience PhD Program is now in its 17th year, and continues its mission to train outstanding students across the breadth of modern neuroscience. We have 62 current students. They are producing great research on a wide range of topics, from mapping semantic meaning across human cerebral cortex, to using new light-gated molecular tools to restore vision in retinal degeneration, to discovering new cortical microcircuits, building new types of brain-machine interfaces, and discovering circuits for courtship and learning in Drosophila. They publish in top journals (see selected publications here). I am very proud of our students, who are an integral part of the exciting research environment at Berkeley.

Bob Knight and Bradley Voytek. Voytek is now Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego. Click to read his profile.

Our students also go on to great careers. We have graduated 88 students since our first graduating class in 2006. 80% of our students enter postdoctoral positions after receiving their PhD. Currently, 11 of our graduates are university professors or instructors, 38 remain postdocs, 16 are research scientists in industry or at universities, 2 direct academic research programs, and 3 are officers of start-up companies.

Christine Liu, Lammel Lab, still from her video submission for the Search for Hidden Figures contest. Click to see video.

In 2016, we added several new faculty, including Chunlei Liu (EECS Dept), who develops new magnetic resonance imaging methods to study brain structure, function and modulation. Also new on campus is Kris Bouchard (at LBNL), who develops high-density electrophysiological recording probes and uses them to study functional organization and dynamic coordination in cerebral cortex. We also welcome David Foster (Psychology), who studies the neural basis for memory and spatial cognition in hippocampus. These additions make 55 active Neuroscience research groups at Berkeley, with more to come in 2017.

Levi Gadye, Ngai Lab. Photo by Jim Block.

This past year, the Program implemented two new first-year career skills courses, including a survey of modern research methods, principles of research design and analysis, and advising topics such as “How to Choose a Thesis Mentor” and “Writing an Effective Scientific Paper.” HWNI’s Brain Microscopy Innovation Center (BrainMIC) offered its “4D Advanced Microscopy of Brain Circuits” course for students and other researchers interested in advanced optical methods, as part of the BrainMIC collaboration between UC Berkeley and Zeiss Microscopy. In 2017, we will continue these courses, as well as our Neuroscience Boot Camp (now in its 6th year) and Applied Statistics for Neuroscience (in its 4th year).

I thank our students for their continued dedication and hard work, and I look forward to another exciting year of neuroscience discovery at Berkeley.

Warm regards,

Dan Feldman
Neuroscience PhD Program Director

>> Feldman lab website

If you are a Neuroscience Program graduate, please let us know what you are up to by contacting Candace Groskreutz, our PhD Program Coordinator.