Berkeley Neuroscience Centers

Advances in understanding brain function and brain disorders are often enabled by cutting-edge technology and the focus of the brightest scientific minds from diverse disciplines around a common goal. Berkeley Neuroscience fosters advances by sponsoring Research and Technology Centers. These centers bring together interdisciplinary groups of researchers to support new areas of research, develop tools for neuroscience research, and apply the new knowledge and tools to advance our understanding of the brain.

Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses (CNEP)

Deep brain stimulators that treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and brain-implantable prosthetic systems that help a disabled person move a computer cursor or robotic arm are exciting examples of a new frontier in neuroscience – engineering neural interfaces that can correct for neurological maladies. Neural interfaces can potentially be applied to treat a wide range of disabilities, from loss of vision or motor control to psychological conditions like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. CNEP, led by co-directors Jose Carmena (UCB) and Edward Chang (UCSF) brings together neuroscientists, neurologists, and engineers from UC Berkeley and UCSF to develop breakthrough technologies to restore neural function. CNEP is a non-profit, research-based organization with the ultimate goal of transferring its innovations into common medical practice.

> Go to the CNEP website
> See the latest CNEP news

Henry H. Wheeler, Jr. Brain Imaging Center (BIC)

A flattened representation of the human brain imaged at the BIC. Colors correspond to the brain’s activation in response to certain words or images. Image courtesy of Alex Huth, Gallant Lab.
A flattened representation of the human brain imaged at the BIC. Colors correspond to the brain’s activation in response to certain words or images. Image courtesy of Alex Huth, Gallant Lab.

The ability to visualize brain activity in people using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has revolutionized cognitive and clinical neuroscience, by providing a window on brain function and dysfunction. The BIC, led by Professor Mark D’Esposito, is one of the most innovative and powerful imaging facilities in the world dedicated solely to basic research on human and animal brain function. The BIC houses a 4 Tesla and a 3 Tesla MRI scanner, and is built upon active collaboration between cognitive neuroscientists, physicists, chemists, and computer scientists. Our physical scientists and neuroscientists work together to enhance the temporal and spatial resolution of brain imaging technologies, to probe deeper and more precisely into the dynamic functioning of the living brain.

> Go to the BIC website
> See the latest BIC news

Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences (ICBS)

ICBS supports research in cognitive science, the interdisciplinary field dedicated to understanding the nature of the mind and the biological basis of behavior and mental function. Institute members come from a number of departments on campus, including Psychology, Linguistics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, Vision Sciences, Education, Anthropology, Philosophy, Music, and Berkeley Neuroscience. The intersection of researchers from these different disciplines has led to new research paradigms and methodologies to address pressing questions about the mind and brain.

> Go to the ICBS website

Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience (RCTN)

Electrical signals are recorded from the hippocampus of a moving rat as it runs back and forth on a linear track. Scientists found that at each point of the track, specific patterns of electrical activity emerge. In this figure, the activity of each pattern is rendered in a different color. Together, these patterns define a 'map' of the environment that specifies the rat's current location.
Electrical signals are recorded from the hippocampus of a moving rat as it runs back and forth on a linear track. Scientists found that at each point of the track, specific patterns of electrical activity emerge. In this figure, the activity of each pattern is rendered in a different color. Together, these patterns define a ‘map’ of the environment that specifies the rat’s current location.

The past several decades have yielded a plethora of data regarding the structure and function of the brain, yet we are still lacking concrete theories for how information is processed by neurons so as to mediate basic abilities such as vision, hearing, language, memory, and motor control. Investigators at RCTN, led by Professor Bruno Olshausen, are attempting to bridge this gap by bringing their expertise in computer science, physics, mathematics, and engineering to bear on modeling the complex interactions that take place in neuronal circuits, as well as developing new computational tools for analyzing the high-dimensional datasets now arising from neuroscience experiments. Developing such models and tools is essential in order to design experiments and interpret findings in terms of a theory of neural function and ultimately, intelligent behavior. In addition to possessing a 36-node computing cluster, RCTN hosts the NSF-funded Datasharing Facility (crcns.org) where modelers can access data from experimental labs.

> Go to the RCTN website
> See the latest RCTN news

Collaborating Centers

Berkeley Neuroscience faculty and collaborators are also affiliated with the following centers.

Computational Imaging Lab

The Computational Imaging Lab at UC Berkeley develops new imaging systems through concurrent development of hardware and software, with broad applications. Neuroscience applications include systems to optically record and control the electrical activity of many neurons simultaneously in order to study the mechanisms of perception, cognition, and behavior.

> Go to the Computational Imaging Lab website

Molecular Imaging Center (MIC)

The MIC at UC Berkeley is a shared light microscopy center specializing in state-of-the-art laser-based fluorescence techniques. Within the MIC is BrainMIC — a partnership between UC Berkeley and ZEISS Microscopy, LLC, established by Berkeley Neuroscience Director Ehud Isacoff. The mission of BrainMIC is to provide the technology and training required to make new optical tools, such as optogenetics to record and control neuronal activity, accessible to the broad neuroscience community.

> Go to the MIC website

Paul F. Glenn Center for Aging Research

The UC Berkeley UCSF Glenn Center studies the molecular causes of neurodegeneration in aging and develops therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases.

> Go to the Glenn Foundation website

Center for Computational Biology (CCB)

The CCB at UC Berkeley supports interdisciplinary research that spans the interface between computation and biology, with a focus on the human genome, and runs the Computational Biology PhD program. Core principal investigators in CCB include Berkeley Neuroscience members who apply computational principles to the study of the brain.

> Go to the CCB website

The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3)

QB3 is a cooperative effort between the state of California, private industry, venture capital, and the UC campuses at Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz. Its goals are to fuel the California bioeconomy; to support research and training in quantitative biosciences; and to translate academic research into products and services that benefit society. QB3 supports research at the intersection of the physical and biological sciences, such as nanoscale tools to study specific molecules in the brain.

One of QB3’s core facilities at Berkeley is the Functional Genomics Laboratory (FGL), which focuses on gene microarrays and high-throughput, Next Generation sequencing technologies. The FGL helps our researchers address neurobiological questions at a genome-wide level. The Academic Director of the FGL is John Ngai, a Berkeley Neuroscience member.

> Go to the QB3-Berkeley website

Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS)

BIDS is a central hub of research and education at UC Berkeley designed to facilitate and nurture data-intensive science, such as computational neuroscience. BIDS brings together experts from the biological, physical, and social sciences with those from computer science, statistics, and applied mathematics.

> Go to the BIDS website

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

LBNL is a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory managed by the University of California. It brings together top researchers, including several Berkeley Neuroscience members, from a broad range of scientific disciplines, including energy, physical, biological, computational, earth, and environmental sciences. LBNL is part of the Bay Area Tri-Institutional Partnership, along with UC Berkeley and UCSF, piloted by the Berkeley Brain Initiative under Neuroscience Director Ehud Isacoff.

> Go to the LBNL website