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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PhD Program
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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 four 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.

Latest News

How we sleep today may forecast when Alzheimer’s disease begins

How we sleep today may forecast when Alzheimer’s disease begins

The Walker and Jagust labs found that sleep quality can predict accumulation of beta-amyloid.
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UC Berkeley researchers awarded Pew Innovation Funding

UC Berkeley researchers awarded Pew Innovation Funding

HWNI member Ke Xu is part of a collaboration to study steroid hormones in Alzheimer’s disease.
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$14 million boost for Parkinson’s disease research

$14 million boost for Parkinson’s disease research

HWNI member Helen Bateup is part of the team that will study genes implicated in Parkinson’s.
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UC Berkeley launches new center for psychedelic science and education

UC Berkeley launches new center for psychedelic science and education

Michael Silver, director of the Neuroscience PhD Program, will lead this unique new HWNI center.
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Welcome to our new PhD students!

Welcome to our new PhD students!

Get to know the Neuroscience PhD Program entering class of 2020!
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PhD students Matt Davis, Holly Gildea, and Tobias Schmid win fellowship, awards

PhD students Matt Davis, Holly Gildea, and Tobias Schmid win fellowship, awards

Congratulations to Matt for winning a fellowship, and Holly and Tobias for winning teaching awards!
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Michael Yartsev appointed as a Vallee Scholar

Michael Yartsev appointed as a Vallee Scholar

Assistant professor Michael Yartsev was one of only six faculty worldwide to receive this award.
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Which way is up? Retinal neurons know, even when light deprivation during development distorts their shape

Which way is up? Retinal neurons know, even when light deprivation during development distorts their shape

Read our Q&A with Neuroscience PhD student Malak El-Quessny (Feller lab), explaining her new paper.
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Recent Faculty Publications

17 Sep 2020
Neuropsychologia. 2020 Sep 14:107625. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2020.107625. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Processing of low-level visual information shows robust developmental gains through childhood and adolescence. However, it is unknown whether low-level...
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17 Sep 2020
Chem Senses. 2020 Sep 17:bjaa060. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjaa060. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Under natural conditions, an animal orienting to an air-borne odor plume must contend with the shifting influence of...
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16 Sep 2020
Sci Adv. 2020 Jul 31;6(31):eabc5801. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abc5801. Epub 2020 Jul 24. ABSTRACT Altered olfactory function is a common symptom of COVID-19, but its etiology is unknown. A key question is...
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15 Sep 2020
J Neurosci. 2020 Sep 14:JN-RM-0607-20. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0607-20.2020. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT In our everyday behavior, we frequently cancel one movement while continuing others. Two competing models have been suggested...
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15 Sep 2020
J Neurosci. 2020 Sep 14:JN-RM-0078-20. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0078-20.2020. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT The perception of duration in the subsecond range has been hypothesized to be mediated by the population response...
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