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

Minds Wide Open just won two 2019 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards Gold World Medals – one in the Science & Technology Documentary category and the other for best Branded Documentary Production. The film also won a Bronze World Medal in the Feature Documentary Film category at this year’s festival.  The film features some of the world’s most innovative scientists and doctors from UC Berkeley, Caltech, Harvard, Fudan University-affiliated Huashan Hospital, Oxford (Jesus College) and Stanford. These experts present compelling advances in brain research, psychiatry, biology, robotics and artificial intelligence – and demonstrate how they can help people whose lives are affected by brain disease and disorders.

As part of their billion-dollar commitment to brain science, the Chens plan to create new cornerstone partnerships with international institutions and programs that will support scientists working on the brain and mind. They will create other films to highlight advances in the science, the challenges faced by scientists and opportunities they see for making progress in the quest to unlock the mysteries of the human mind.  “We commissioned Minds Wide Open as a way of advocating for the scientific community,” commented Chrissy Luo, TCC Co-Founder. “Our hope is that scientists and researchers can use the film to make the case for supporting early-career scientists and for taking an interdisciplinary approach to studying the human brain.”

A free, 26-minute version is on YouTube here: http://bit.ly/mindswide

Featured Breakthrough

Enrichment and Child Brain Development

Berkeley anatomist Marian Diamond showed that early life experiences enhanced by environmental enrichment led to physical changes in the brain — such as a thicker cortex, higher ratio of glial cells to neurons, and denser networks of dendrites. Higher cognitive function seems to benefit from social and other stimulation, and pursuing mental challenges strengthens the immune system.

Featured Scholar

Jose Carmena

Jose Carmena investigates how and where in the human brain new motor skills are learned. As co-director of the UC Berkeley-UC San Francisco Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses (CNEP), Carmena leads the development of brain-machine interface (BMI) systems for applications in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. Carmena is also co-inventor of Neural Dust, a technology that uses ultrasound to communicate with microscopic devices implanted in the body.

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.

Minds Wide Open just won two 2019 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards Gold World Medals – one in the Science & Technology Documentary category and the other for best Branded Documentary Production. The film also won a Bronze World Medal in the Feature Documentary Film category at this year’s festival.  The film features some of the world’s most innovative scientists and doctors from UC Berkeley, Caltech, Harvard, Fudan University-affiliated Huashan Hospital, Oxford (Jesus College) and Stanford. These experts present compelling advances in brain research, psychiatry, biology, robotics and artificial intelligence – and demonstrate how they can help people whose lives are affected by brain disease and disorders.

As part of their billion-dollar commitment to brain science, the Chens plan to create new cornerstone partnerships with international institutions and programs that will support scientists working on the brain and mind. They will create other films to highlight advances in the science, the challenges faced by scientists and opportunities they see for making progress in the quest to unlock the mysteries of the human mind.  “We commissioned Minds Wide Open as a way of advocating for the scientific community,” commented Chrissy Luo, TCC Co-Founder. “Our hope is that scientists and researchers can use the film to make the case for supporting early-career scientists and for taking an interdisciplinary approach to studying the human brain.”

A free, 26-minute version is on YouTube here: http://bit.ly/mindswide

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.