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

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.

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.