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

With a $106 million gift from the Weill Family Foundation, UC Berkeley (Berkeley), UC San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of Washington (the UW) have launched the Weill Neurohub, an innovative research network that will forge and nurture new collaborations between neuroscientists and researchers working in an array of other disciplines—including engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry, and mathematics—to speed the development of new therapies for diseases and disorders that affect the brain and nervous system.

Featured Breakthrough

Neural Dust

An evocatively named network of highly miniaturized, wireless sensors, Neural Dust uses tiny bursts of ultrasound to record real-time activity from neurons, muscles, or organs. Invented by Berkeley professors Michel Maharbiz and Jose Carmena, this innovative tool offers a less-invasive method of in-body telemetry that could enable the movement of prosthetic limbs or help to monitor health. 

Featured Scholar

Diana Bautista

Intrigued by how the body detects and responds to its environment, Diana Bautista studies the molecular mechanisms underlying the sensations of touch, pain, and itch. She examines interactions among sensory neurons, skin cells, and immune cells that can trigger chronic inflammatory diseases and has identified a molecule that increases itching through the brain’s sensitivity to serotonin. Bautista was named a 2016 Faculty Scholar by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Simons Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

We invite you to connect with the Berkeley Brain Initiative.

News

With a $106 million gift from the Weill Family Foundation, UC Berkeley (Berkeley), UC San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of Washington (the UW) have launched the Weill Neurohub, an innovative research network that will forge and nurture new collaborations between neuroscientists and researchers working in an array of other disciplines—including engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry, and mathematics—to speed the development of new therapies for diseases and disorders that affect the brain and nervous system.

Dyslexia, one of America’s most common learning challenges, is often referred to as an invisible disability, due in no small part to the stigma of struggling with reading and writing in competitive school environments. For full story click here.

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.