Connecting the Brain and the Mind

The human brain has the power to imagine and create. It can fuel astonishing achievements or fail from devastating ailments. So much is at stake in discovering how this unique organ lets us experience the world. Leveraging UC Berkeley’s world-leading research excellence across all relevant disciplines, the Berkeley Brain Initiative convenes exceptional minds to spark breakthrough knowledge and to spawn transformative technologies. Our ultimate goal: to unlock the secrets of how the human brain gives rise to the mind.

Breaking News

Frédéric Theunissen, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, has been awarded a Carl Friedrich von Siemens Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for his research on auditory perception. The award is given in recognition of the winner’s entire body of work. It provides the opportunity for awardees to carry out a research project of their choosing with colleagues in Germany, to promote international scientific collaboration.  Theunissen was nominated for the award by Professor Manfred Gahr, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany.  

Featured Breakthrough

Foundations of MRI Technology

Berkeley physicist Erwin Hahn discovered two fundamental phenomena that led to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. Berkeley later built the first whole-body MRI scanner, transforming radiology and medical treatment worldwide. Berkeley was also key in developing ultra-low-field MRI, which could permit imaging in a freely moving person.

Featured Scholar

Michel Maharbiz

A Chan Zuckerberg Investigator, Michel Maharbiz creates next-generation neural interface technology — engineering radical data-gathering devices for use in the body. He is a co-inventor of Neural Dust: a platform for ultra-miniaturized, free-floating electrical sensors inserted into the brain for long-term recording of neural activity. This approach could overcome the obstacles and risks posed by current implant devices. 

We invite you to connect with the Berkeley Brain Initiative.

News

UC Berkeley is partnering with the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle on a five-year effort to count, catalog and connect the many different cell types in the mouse brain, as a foundation for doing the same for the human brain. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Allen Institute-led consortium represents an international team of scientists that will construct a comprehensive whole-brain atlas of cell types, essentially a parts list of the mouse brain.

Frédéric Theunissen, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, has been awarded a Carl Friedrich von Siemens Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for his research on auditory perception. The award is given in recognition of the winner’s entire body of work. It provides the opportunity for awardees to carry out a research project of their choosing with colleagues in Germany, to promote international scientific collaboration.  Theunissen was nominated for the award by Professor Manfred Gahr, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany.  

A new wireless ‘pacemaker for the brain’ could become the new standard for the treatment for neurological disorders.  Developed by engineers at UC Berkeley, this new neuro-stimulator can listen to and stimulate electric current in the brain at the same time, potentially delivering fine-tuned treatments to patients with diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s.