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. We also have over 100 PhD Program alumni who work in a variety of careers across the globe.

Latest News

Zebra finches amazing at unmasking the bird behind the song

Zebra finches amazing at unmasking the bird behind the song

New study from the Theunissen lab, led by Neuroscience PhD student Kevin Yu and postdoc William Wood.
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Schaffer awarded Professional Progress Award

Schaffer awarded Professional Progress Award

Congratulations to David Schaffer on winning the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' Andreas Acrivos Professional Progress Award!
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Berkeley neuroscience community gathers virtually for annual conference

Berkeley neuroscience community gathers virtually for annual conference

Read about our 2020 Berkeley Neuroscience Annual Conference, which was held online in October.
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Fisher selected as an Allen Institute Next Generation Leader

Fisher selected as an Allen Institute Next Generation Leader

Incoming HWNI faculty member Yvette Fisher is one of six new early-career neuroscientists selected.
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Home over hospital: PhD alum Elena Allen develops products to manage heart failure at home

Home over hospital: PhD alum Elena Allen develops products to manage heart failure at home

Read our Q&A with Neuroscience PhD alum Elena Allen, chief scientist at Rodin Scientific.
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Yang Dan awarded endowed chair

Yang Dan awarded endowed chair

Congratulations to Yang Dan on being appointed the Nan Fung Life Sciences Chancellor's Chair in Neuroscience!
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Kriegsfeld, Dan, and Kaufer win 2020 Radical Ideas in Brain Science Challenge

Kriegsfeld, Dan, and Kaufer win 2020 Radical Ideas in Brain Science Challenge

Congratulations to the HWNI team who won our Radical Ideas in Brain Science Challenge!
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Dan Feldman awarded endowed chair

Dan Feldman awarded endowed chair

Congratulations to Dan Feldman on being appointed as the Coates Family Endowed Chair in Neuroscience!
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Recent Faculty Publications

27 Nov 2020
Nat Commun. 2020 Nov 26;11(1):6020. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19851-1.ABSTRACTUnderstanding the structure and function of vasculature in the brain requires us to monitor distributed hemodynamics at high spatial and temporal resolution in three-dimensional...
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26 Nov 2020
Atten Percept Psychophys. 2020 Nov 25. doi: 10.3758/s13414-020-02173-1. Online ahead of print.ABSTRACTIn a glance, observers can evaluate gist characteristics from crowds of faces, such as the average emotional tenor or...
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26 Nov 2020
Front Psychol. 2020 Nov 6;11:585921. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.585921. eCollection 2020.ABSTRACTHumans perceive faces holistically rather than as a set of separate features. Previous work demonstrates that some individuals are better at this...
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26 Nov 2020
Nat Commun. 2020 Nov 25;11(1):5980. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19742-5.ABSTRACTMiscarriage is a common, complex trait affecting ~15% of clinically confirmed pregnancies. Here we present the results of large-scale genetic association analyses with 69,054...
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25 Nov 2020
J Vis. 2020 Nov 2;20(12):10. doi: 10.1167/jov.20.12.10.ABSTRACTWe investigate how the population nonlinearities resulting from lateral inhibition and thresholding in sparse coding networks influence neural response selectivity and robustness. We show...
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