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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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 five 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

Picking brains: Neuroscience PhD students launch website to profile faculty

Picking brains: Neuroscience PhD students launch website to profile faculty

Read “unofficial bios” of some of our faculty, in a new project developed by our students!
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Where do our minds wander? Brain waves can point the way

Where do our minds wander? Brain waves can point the way

The Knight lab has found that brain waves can show whether a person’s mind is wandering.
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In shaky times, focus on past successes, if overly anxious, depressed

In shaky times, focus on past successes, if overly anxious, depressed

New study from the Bishop lab could have implications for the treatment of anxiety and depression.
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Beyond the lab: PhD alum Antonio Lara builds wearable devices to gain insight into the human brain

Beyond the lab: PhD alum Antonio Lara builds wearable devices to gain insight into the human brain

Read our Q&A with Neuroscience PhD alum Antonio Lara, director of neuroscience at Kernel.
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Neuroscientists tap gamers to learn how people problem-solve

Neuroscientists tap gamers to learn how people problem-solve

HWNI scientist Gautam Agarwal, a Neuroscience PhD alum, developed a game to learn about the brain.
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Get to know incoming HWNI faculty Yvette Fisher and Doris Tsao

Get to know incoming HWNI faculty Yvette Fisher and Doris Tsao

Fisher and Tsao are among the new faculty profiled in this article from the MCB department.
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Neurobiology labs team up to tackle COVID-19

Neurobiology labs team up to tackle COVID-19

HWNI members Brohawn, Bautista, and Adesnik are collaborating to learn more about the virus and find new treatments.
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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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Recent Faculty Publications

22 Jan 2021
J Neurosci. 2021 Jan 15:JN-RM-2362-20. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2362-20.2021. Online ahead of print.ABSTRACTUnderstanding the relationship between neuroanatomy and function in portions of cortex that perform functions largely specific to humans such as...
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20 Jan 2021
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jan 26;118(4):e2011796118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2011796118.ABSTRACTHumans spend much of their lives engaging with their internal train of thoughts. Traditionally, research focused on whether or...
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19 Jan 2021
J Biol Chem. 2021 Jan 16:100302. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100302. Online ahead of print.ABSTRACT3,4-diaminopyridine (3,4-DAP) increases transmitter release from neuromuscular junctions (NMJs), and low doses of 3,4-DAP (estimated to reach ∼1 μM...
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15 Jan 2021
Phys Rev Lett. 2020 Dec 31;125(26):261801. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.125.261801.ABSTRACTThe observation of forward proton scattering in association with lepton pairs (e^{+}e^{-}+p or μ^{+}μ^{-}+p) produced via photon fusion is presented. The scattered proton...
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15 Jan 2021
Nano Lett. 2021 Jan 15. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c04641. Online ahead of print.ABSTRACTWe report a facile approach to directly chlorinate graphene from an aqueous sodium chloride solution under ambient conditions. By applying...
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