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Monday, October 16, 2017

​Crowding from three sides: Foveal interference, spatial attention, and appearance

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | October 16 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall


Dan Coates, PhD, University of Houston Optometry

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Abstract: Crowding, the deleterious influence of clutter on identification of a target, is typically studied in the visual periphery, where it is a fundamental limit to visual perception. Most experiments entail keen spatial focus on a flanked target, which must be categorized using forced-choice response methods. I present several recent studies that extend conventional practice. First, I...   More >

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Genetic Approaches to Brain Circuit Mapping and Cell Type Characterization

Seminar | October 19 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition


Hongkui Zeng, Allen Institute for Brain Science

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology


This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH



Monday, October 23, 2017

​Imaging Retinal Ganglion Cells

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | October 23 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall


Don Miller, PhD, Indiana University School of Optometry

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Abstract: The retinal ganglion cell is the primary cell damaged by glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible visual loss worldwide. While we have a detailed understanding of the atrophy this disease inflicts on retinal ganglion cells, our ability to assess this damage in the living human eye is limited. A major obstacle is the difficulty to image—and thus count—these cells owing to their high...   More >

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

​Graduate Student Seminar

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | October 30 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall


Thao Yeh; Natalie Stepien

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Title: Exploring the impact of technology and mode of presentation on reading comprehension in sighted and blind individuals

Presenter: Natalie Stepien-Bernabe (Dr. Deborah Orel-Bixler’s Lab)

Abstract: Technology is growing rapidly, facilitating the electronic distribution of information. Electronic methods of acquiring information are especially prevalent in educational settings. For...   More >

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cognitive Neuroscience/Neurobiology Colloquium: Data Slam 2

Colloquium | November 2 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Department of Psychology


Data slam number 2 from grads in Cognitive Neuroscience/Neuroscience. Grad lounge afterwards for drinks and socializing.

Monday, November 6, 2017

​Graduate Student Seminar

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | November 6 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall


Mehmet N Agaoglu

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Title: Miniature eye movements are tuned but not optimal for fine discrimination at the fovea

Abstract: Human eyes are never stable, even during attempts of maintaining gaze on a visual target. Considering transient response characteristics of retinal ganglion cells, a certain amount of motion of the eyes is required to efficiently encode information and to prevent neural adaptation. However,...   More >

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Maximum Entropy and the Inference of Patterns in Nature

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | November 8 | 12 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall


John Harte, UC Berkeley

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Constrained maximization of information entropy yields least biased probability distributions. In statistical physics, this powerful inference method yields classical thermodynamics under the constraints implied by conservation laws. Here we apply this method to ecology, starting with logically necessary constraints formed from ratios of ecological state variables, and derive realistic abundance...   More >



Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Theory of How Columns in the Neocortex Enable Learning the Structure of the World

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | November 16 | 12 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall


Jeff Hawkins, Numenta

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Neocortical regions are organized into columns and layers. Connections between layers run mostly perpendicular to the surface suggesting a columnar functional organization. Some layers have long-range excitatory lateral connections suggesting interactions between columns. Similar patterns of connectivity exist in all regions but their exact role remain a mystery. Here, we propose a network model...   More >



Cell adhesion and signaling pathways governing CNS development and cancer

Seminar | November 16 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition


Joseph McCarty, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology


This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Monday, November 27, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Decoding the computations of high-level auditory neurons

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | November 29 | 12 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall


Joel Kaardal, Salk Institute

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Characterizing the computations performed by high-level sensory regions of the brain remains enigmatic due to the many nonlinear signal transformations that separate the input sensory stimuli from the neural responses. In order to produce interpretable models of these computations, dimensionality reduction techniques can be employed to obtain a description of the neural computation in terms of a...   More >

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Information seeking and randomization in human exploration and exploitation

Seminar | November 30 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition


Robert Wilson, University of Arizona, Department of Psychology

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology


This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH



Monday, December 4, 2017

Thesis Seminar

Seminar: Neuroscience Seminar | December 4 | 3-5 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center


Timothy Day, Flannery and Schaffer labs; Ryan Neely, Carmena lab

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


3pm: Timothy Day (Flannery and Schaffer labs)

Expanding the Potential of AAV Vectors for the Treatment of Intractable Inherited Retinal Degenerations


3:45p: Ryan Neely (Carmena lab)

Cortical and striatal circuits for learning adaptive behaviors, and wireless ultrasonic implants for interfacing with the nervous system

Reception to follow.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dissertation Talk: How the brain explores and consolidates activity patterns to learn Brain-Machine Interface control

Seminar | December 12 | 2-3:30 p.m. | Cory Hall, Hogan Room/521


Vivek Ravindra Athalye, Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS)


The Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) is an emerging technology which directly translates neural activity into control signals for effectors such as computers, prosthetics, or even muscles. Work over the last decade has shown that high performance BMIs depend on machine learning to adapt parameters for decoding neural activity, but also on the brain learning to reliably produce desired neural...   More >



Dissertation Talk: How the brain explores and consolidates activity patterns to learn Brain-Machine Interface control

Presentation | December 12 | 2-3:30 p.m. | Cory Hall, Hogan Room / 521


Vivek Ravindra Athalye, Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS)


The Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) is an emerging technology which directly translates neural activity into control signals for effectors such as computers, prosthetics, or even muscles. Work over the last decade has shown that high performance BMIs depend on machine learning to adapt parameters for decoding neural activity, but also on the brain learning to reliably produce desired...   More >

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Looking and seeing in the primary visual cortex

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | December 13 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall


Zhaoping Li, University College London

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


I will present a review of the role of the primary visual cortex V1 in the functions of looking and seeing in vision. Looking is attentional selection, to select a fraction of visual inputs into the attentional bottleneck for deeper processing. Seeing is to infer or decode the properties of the selected visual inputs, e.g., to recognize a face. In particular, I show that V1 creates a bottom-up...   More >

Friday, December 15, 2017

Neural circuits of dexterity

Seminar: Neuroscience Seminar | December 15 | 12 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center


Dr. Adam Hantman, Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Dexterous movements serve the major functions of the brain, perception and manipulation of the world. Considering the range of possible actions and the complexity of musculoskeletal arrangements, control of the hand is an amazing achievement of the nervous system. Dexterous behavior involves understanding objects in the world, developing appropriate plans, converting those plans into appropriate...   More >

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Biologically plausible deep learning for recurrent spiking neural networks.

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | December 19 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall


Shaowei Lin

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Despite widespread success in deep learning, backpropagation has been criticized for its biological implausibility. To address this issue, Hinton and Bengio have suggested that our brains are performing approximations of backpropagation, and some of their proposed models seem promising. In the same vein, we propose a different model for learning in recurrent neural networks (RNNs), known as...   More >

Monday, January 22, 2018

Integration of guided experiential skill application into attention regulation training yields generalized improvements in cognitive functioning

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | January 22 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall


Sahar Yousef, Silver Lab

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Improvement of cognitive function is of great value to many aspects of society. However, identifying robust procedures for training cognitive processes in a generalizable way remains elusive. Here we present a novel attention regulation training paradigm that incorporates skill application in multiple learning environments. We hypothesized that our training procedure would enhance...   More >

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Towards artificial general intelligence: Brain-inspired CAPTCHA breaking and Atari playing

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | January 24 | 12-1 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall


Miguel Lázaro-Gredilla, Vicarious, Inc.

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Abstract: Compositionality, generalization, and learning from a few examples are among the hallmarks of human intelligence. In this talk I will describe how Vicarious combines these ideas to create approaches to CAPTCHA breaking and Atari game playing that improve on the state of the art. Both of these tasks have indeed been tackled before, using respectively Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs)...   More >



Optically probing the neural basis of perception

Seminar | January 24 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 100 Genetics & Plant Biology Building


Hillel Adesnik, University of California, Berkeley, Molecular and Cell Biology

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

Friday, January 26, 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018

Long Term Adaptation in Vision

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | January 29 | 12-1 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall


Stephen Engel, University of Minnesota, Dept. of Psychology

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Abstract: Experience with the environment dramatically influences how we act, think, and perceive; understanding the neural plasticity that supports such change is a long-standing goal in cognitive neuroscience. In the visual system, neural function alters dramatically as people adapt to changes in their visual world. Most past work, however, has altered visual input only over the short-term,...   More >



I see you: Social gaze as a window of opportunity in early brain development

Colloquium | January 29 | 12:15-1:15 p.m. | 3105 Tolman Hall


Ronny Geva, The Gonda Brain Research Center, Bar Ilan University, Israel

Department of Psychology


Social bonding—including the social learning that underpins the creation of early emotional ties between infants and their caretakers—are among the most fundamental developmental processes for human survival and well-being. Social attention is thought to play a crucial role in these processes, but little is known about the neurodevelopmental mechanisms—particularly regarding the involvement of...   More >



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cognitive Neuroscience Colloquium: Where

Colloquium | January 30 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Patrick Cavanagh, Department of Psychology, Glendon College and Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College

Department of Psychology


How do we know where things are? Recent results indicate that an object’s visual location is constructed at a high level where, critically, an object’s motion is discounted to recover its current location, much like we discount the illumination when we perceive color. As a result we sometimes see a target far from its actual location. These predictions operate differently for eye movements,...   More >

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sensory Integration, Density Estimation, and Information Retention

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | January 31 | 12-1 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall


Joe Makin, UCSF

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


A common task facing computational scientists and, arguably, the brains of primates more generally is to construct models for data, particularly ones that invoke latent variables. Although it is often natural to identify the latent variables of such a model with the true unobserved variables in the world, the correspondence between the two can be more complicated, as when the former are...   More >



Computational psychiatry: When good decisions go bad

Seminar | January 31 | 3 p.m. |  5101 Tolman Hall


**Peter Dayan**

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Abstract: Substantial efforts across the fields of computer science, artificial intelligence, statistics, operations research, economics, and control theory have provided us with a psychologically- and neurobiologically-grounded account of how humans and other animals learn to predict rewards and punishments, and choose actions to maximize the former and minimize the latter. It becomes an obvious...   More >

Friday, February 2, 2018

Monday, February 5, 2018

What is Stereo Good For?

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | February 5 | 12-1 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall


Suzanne McKee, PhD, The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, Lab Director

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Abstract: All primates, including, of course, humans, have evolved to have forward-facing eyes; each eye sees almost the same view of the world. By giving up the view of possible predators approaching from behind, our species gained highly precise stereopsis. The median stereoacuity for college students is 12” (Coutant & Westheimer,1992); it is roughly half this value for practiced subjects...   More >

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Cognitive Adaptations to Harsh Environments

Lecture | February 6 | 10-11:30 a.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Willem Frankenhuis, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University

Department of Psychology


Growing up in a harsh environment has a major impact on cognition. People from such environments tend to score lower on a variety of cognitive tests. The predominant view in psychology is, therefore, that chronic exposure to harsh conditions impairs cognition. I have recently challenged this consensus by proposing that harsh environments do not exclusively impair cognition. Rather, people also...   More >



The 1000+ neurons challenge: emergent simplicity in (very) large populations

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | February 6 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall


Leenoy Mesulam, Princeton University

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Recent technological progress has dramatically increased our access to the neural activity underlying memory-related tasks. These complex high-dimensional data call for theories that allow us to identify signatures of collective activity in the networks that are crucial for the emergence of cognitive functions. As an example, we study the neural activity in dorsal hippocampus as a mouse runs...   More >



Thursday, February 8, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Link between Blur, Refractive Correction and Falls

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | February 12 | 12-1 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall


David Elliot, PhD, Professor, Bradford University, UK

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Abstract: Falls are common and represent a very serious health risk for older people. They are not random events as falls are linked to a range of intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors. Vision provides a significant input to postural control in addition to providing information about the size and position of hazards and obstacles in the travel pathway and allows us to safely negotiate steps and...   More >



Neural Mechanisms of the Development of Face Perception

Colloquium | February 12 | 12:10-1:10 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Kalanit Grill-Spector, Stanford University

Department of Psychology


How do brain mechanisms develop from childhood to adulthood? There is extensive debate if brain development is due to pruning of excess neurons, synapses, and connections, leading to reduction of responses to irrelevant stimuli, or if development is associated with growth of dendritic arbors, synapses, and myelination leading to increased responses and selectivity to relevant stimuli. Our...   More >



Neural Mechanisms of the Development of Face Perception

Colloquium | February 12 | 12:15-1:30 p.m. | Tolman Hall, Beach Room (3105)


Kalanit Grill-Spector, Stanford University

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


How do brain mechanisms develop from childhood to adulthood? There is extensive debate if brain development is due to pruning of excess neurons, synapses, and connections, leading to reduction of responses to irrelevant stimuli, or if development is associated with growth of dendritic arbors, synapses, and myelination leading to increased responses and selectivity to relevant stimuli. Our...   More >

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

Representing Linguistic Knowledge With Probabilistic Models

Colloquium | February 16 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Stephan Meylan, UC Berkeley

Department of Psychology


Ph.D. Exit Talk

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cognitive Neuroscience Colloquium: 3rd year talks

Colloquium | February 20 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Paul Krueger, Graduate Student, Psychology Department, UC Berkeley; Maria Eckstein, Graduate Student, Psychology Department, UC Berkeley

Department of Psychology

Monday, February 26, 2018

Scalable Imaging of Molecular Order

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | February 26 | 12-1 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall


Shalin Mehta, PhD, Platform Leader, Advanced Optical Microscopy, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Abstract: Nanoscale alignment of molecules, or molecular order, underpins the directed functions of cells. Cells have the fascinating capacity of creating and sustaining molecular order at the expense of chemical energy, as illustrated by the planar organization of the lipid membrane and the three-dimensional organization of chromatin, cytoskeleton, and extracellular matrix. The molecular order...   More >



Measuring activity of cortical layers in human brain with CBV-fMRI: method and first applications

Seminar: BIC Seminar | February 26 | 4-5 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center


Laurentius Huber, Postdoc Fellow at Section on Functional Imaging Methods, NIMH, NIH

Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills


Layer-dependent fMRI allows measurements of information flow in cortical circuits, as afferent and efferent connections terminate in different cortical layers.
However, conventional high-resolution fMRI is challenged by its reactively high noise level and limited localization specificity of large draining veins.
In this presentation, I will discuss some recent methodological advancements of...   More >

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Cognitive Neuroscience Colloquium: 3rd year talks

Colloquium | February 27 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Nick Angelides, Graduate Student, Psychology Department, UC Berkeley; Vinitha Rangarajan, Graduate Student, Psychology Department, UC Berkeley

Department of Psychology

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Cognitive Neuroscience Colloquium: 3rd year talks

Colloquium | March 6 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Joe Winer, Graduate Student, Psychology Department, UC Berkeley; Christina Merrick, Graduate Student, Psychology Department, UC Berkeley

Department of Psychology

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

“Leveraging Deep Neural Networks To Study Human Cognition”

Colloquium | March 9 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Joshua Peterson, UC Berkeley

Department of Psychology


Ph.D. Exit Talk

Monday, March 12, 2018

Comparative Neurobiology of Social Bonds - from Rodents to Primates to Humans

Colloquium | March 12 | 12:10-1:10 p.m. | 3105 Tolman Hall


Karen Bales, Department of Psychology, UC Davis

Department of Psychology


Social bonds are critical to human health and well-being. However, most of what we know regarding the neurobiology of strong, selective social bonds ("pair-bonds") comes from a socially monogamous rodent, the prairie vole. In my laboratory, we also study a socially monogamous primate, the titi monkey, as a model for the neurobiology of pair bond formation and maintenance. We have characterized...   More >



Thursday, March 15, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Impact of Mental State Inferences for Legal Outcomes

Colloquium | March 16 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Carly Giffin, UC Berkeley

Department of Psychology


Ph.D. Exit Talk

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Division of Neurobiology and H. Wills Neuroscience Institute

Seminar | April 5 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition


Amita Sehgal, University of Pennsylvania

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology


This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Friday, April 6, 2018

“Resource-Rational Attention Allocation”

Colloquium | April 6 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Fred Callaway, UC Berkeley

Department of Psychology


One of two 30 min research talks by graduate students.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cognitive Neuroscience Colloquium: Computational dysfunctions in anxiety: Failure to differentiate signal from noise

Colloquium | April 10 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Martin Paulus, Scientific Director and President, Laureate Institute for Brain Research

Department of Psychology

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cognitive Neuroscience Colloquium: Neural oscillations: What we're doing wrong

Colloquium | April 17 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 5101 Tolman Hall


Brad Voytek, Professor, Department of Cognitive Science, UCSD

Department of Psychology

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Division of Neurobiology and H. Wills Neuroscience Institute

Seminar | April 26 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition


Emery Brown , Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology


This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Thursday, May 24, 2018