The Helen Wills
Neuroscience Institute

Deepening our understanding of the brain and the rest of the nervous system through original research and neurotechnology innovation, and training the next generation of neuroscientists.

The Helen Wills
Neuroscience Institute

Deepening our understanding of the brain and the rest of the nervous system through original research and neurotechnology innovation, and training the next generation of neuroscientists.

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An image of dendritic spines on neurons in the mouse cortex, produced using new microscopy technology developed by HWNI member Eric Betzig.   

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Neuroscience

The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI) is the nexus for campus-wide multidisciplinary neuroscience research at UC Berkeley. Our community includes over 70 faculty members in 12 academic departments. This unique cross-departmental structure brings together experts from a variety of fields to use the power of interdisciplinary research to achieve breakthroughs in the study of the brain and nervous system, and to drive the development of novel treatments and technologies. 

We support our faculty and their labs in their individual research aims, and foster opportunities for collaboration. We also sponsor major research initiatives, run five innovative neurotechnology and research centers, and train the next generation of neuroscientists through our Neuroscience PhD Program and the training of postdoctoral fellows who conduct research in HWNI faculty labs. We also have over 100 PhD Program alumni who work in a variety of careers across the globe.

Latest News

Helen Wills immortalized as ‘Spirit of California’ in mural by Diego Rivera

Helen Wills immortalized as ‘Spirit of California’ in mural by Diego Rivera

Find out why Helen Wills’ image adorns the stairwell of The City Club of San Francisco.
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Diana Bautista named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator

Diana Bautista named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator

Congratulations to HWNI faculty member Diana Bautista!
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Psychedelics research and public education elevated by multiple gifts

Psychedelics research and public education elevated by multiple gifts

HWNI’s Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics will receive $7M in new gifts.
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Welcome to our new PhD students!

Welcome to our new PhD students!

We are excited to welcome the Neuroscience PhD Program incoming class of 2021!
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Despite dramatic differences in shape, these direction-sensing retinal neurons have similar synaptic organization

Despite dramatic differences in shape, these direction-sensing retinal neurons have similar synaptic organization

New study by Neuroscience PhD alum Malak El-Quessny and HWNI faculty member Marla Feller.
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Looking for something? Recording directly from the human brain reveals mechanisms underlying visual search

Looking for something? Recording directly from the human brain reveals mechanisms underlying visual search

Read our Q&A with PhD alum Katarina Slama about her new paper with Bob Knight.
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Selectively deleting autism-related gene reveals mechanisms that could contribute to repetitive behaviors

Selectively deleting autism-related gene reveals mechanisms that could contribute to repetitive behaviors

New study from Helen Bateup’s lab, co-led by Neuroscience PhD student Katie Cording.
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With the flip of a switch, scientists activate pathway impaired in Parkinson’s disease

With the flip of a switch, scientists activate pathway impaired in Parkinson’s disease

The Isacoff lab has developed a way to turn on specific dopamine pathways, increasing movement in mice.
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Recent Faculty Publications

07 Sep 2021
Front Hum Neurosci. 2021 Aug 18;15:702520. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2021.702520. eCollection 2021.ABSTRACTThe human brain has the astonishing capacity of integrating streams of sensory information from the environment and forming predictions about future...
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06 Sep 2021
Neuroimage. 2021 Sep 3:118553. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118553. Online ahead of print.ABSTRACTTau PET has allowed for critical insights into in vivo patterns of tau accumulation and change in individuals early in the...
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06 Sep 2021
Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2021 May 29;22:40-51. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2021.05.009. eCollection 2021 Sep 10.ABSTRACTNeuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) is a family of neurodegenerative diseases caused by mutations to genes related to...
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02 Sep 2021
Psychol Sci. 2021 Sep 2:9567976211004547. doi: 10.1177/09567976211004547. Online ahead of print.ABSTRACTPeople's perceptual reports are biased toward percepts they are motivated to see. The arousal system coordinates the body's response to...
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01 Sep 2021
Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2021 Aug 24;13(1):e12230. doi: 10.1002/dad2.12230. eCollection 2021.ABSTRACTINTRODUCTION: Head injuries (HI) are a risk factor for dementia, but the underlying etiology is not fully known. Understanding whether tau...
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