Upcoming Events

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018

​Graduate Student Seminar

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | October 15 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Jazzi Junge, Orel-Bixler Lab; Patrick Carney, Wildsoet Lab

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

​The generation of neural diversity​

Seminar | October 17 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | 245 Li Ka Shing Center

 Claude Desplan, New York University

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

Berkeley ACM A.M. Turing Laureate Lecture: Towards a Conscious AI: A Computer Architecture Inspired by Neuroscience with Manuel Blum

Colloquium | October 17 | 4-5 p.m. | Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium

 Manuel Blum, UC Berkeley

 Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS)

Thanks to major advances in neuroscience, we are on the brink of a scientific understanding of how the brain achieves consciousness. This talk will describe neuroscientist Bernard Baars' Global Workspace Model (GWM) of the brain, its implications for understanding consciousness, and a novel computer architecture that it inspires. The Model gives insight for the design of machines that truly...   More >


From Academia to Airbnb: a high dimensional anecdote: Jason Vytlacil

Colloquium | October 17 | 5:15-6:15 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Jason Vytlacil

 Department of Psychology

You can find Jason Vytlacil's LinkedIn page here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jason-vytlacil/

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A cortical reinforcement prediction error encoded by VIP interneurons

Seminar | October 18 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition

 Adam Kepecs, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Monday, October 22, 2018

​Graduate Student Seminar

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | October 22 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Sarah Kochik, Wildsoet Lab; Nevin El-Nimri, Wildsoet Lab

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Nevin El-Nimri's Talk
Manipulating Intraocular Pressure as a Novel Avenue for Controlling Myopia Progression

Myopia (near-sightedness) results from progressive, excessive eye enlargement and is associated with blinding complications. It has become a significant public health concern, reaching epidemic levels in some parts of the world. The eye is like a balloon, with pressure inside the eye...   More >

Monday, October 29, 2018

Set Summary Perception, Outlier Pop Out, and Categorization: A Common Underlying Computation?

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | October 29 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Shaul Hochstein, Professor, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Recent research has focused on perception of set statistics. Presented briefly with a group of elements, simultaneously or successively, observers report precisely the mean of a variety of set features, but are unaware of individual element values. This has been shown for both low and high level features, from circle size to facial expression. A remaining puzzle is how can the perceptual system...   More >

Vision to Action: Towards a Cellular-Resolution Atlas of the Zebrafish Visual and Visuomotor System

Seminar: Neuroscience Seminar | October 29 | 4-5 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center

 Herwig Baier, Department Genes – Circuits – Behavior, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, 82152 Martinsried, Germany

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Understanding brain-wide neuronal dynamics and behavior requires a detailed map of the underlying circuit architecture. We built an interactive cellular-resolution atlas of the zebrafish brain, with a focus on the visual and visuomotor system, and generated from our dataset an inter-areal wiring diagram, which serves as ground truth for synapse-scale, electron microscopic reconstructions. We have...   More >

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Opportunities and challenges of high-field fMRI for neuroscience applications

Colloquium | October 31 | 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Kendrick Kay, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

In this talk, Dr. Kendrick Kay will describe two recent projects that exploit functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at ultra-high magnetic field strength (7 Tesla). The first project consisted of whole-brain fMRI retinotopic mapping in 181 healthy adults, as part of the Human Connectome Project (T2*-weighted gradient-echo EPI, 1.6-mm isotropic resolution, 1-s TR, 85 slices, multiband...   More >

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Information Storage in Memory Engrams

Seminar | November 1 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition

 Tomas Ryan, Trinity College Dublin, School of Biochemistry and Immunology,

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Monday, November 5, 2018

The science of missing what is right in front of your eyes

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | November 5 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Jeremy Wolfe, Professor of Ophthalmology & Radiology, Harvard Medical School

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

OMG, I did not see that!
The science of missing what is right in front of your eyes.

Visual Attention Lab
Department of Surgery
Brigham & Women's Hospital

We cannot simultaneously recognize every object in our field of view. As a result, we deploy attention from object to object or place to place, searching for what we need. This is true whether we are looking for the cat in the bedroom...   More >

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Adversarial Examples that Fool both Computer Vision and Time-Limited Humans

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | November 7 | 12-1 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 Gamaleldin Elsayed, Google Brain

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Machine learning models are vulnerable to adversarial examples: small changes to images can cause computer vision models to make mistakes such as identifying a school bus as an ostrich. However, it is still an open question whether humans are prone to similar mistakes. Here, we address this question by leveraging recent techniques that transfer adversarial examples from computer vision models...   More >

Professor Michael Silver Psychology Colloquium Lecture: Effects of acetylcholine on visual cortex, attention, and learning

Colloquium | November 7 | 5:15-6:15 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Department of Psychology

The neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) has been extensively studied at the level of synapses and neural circuits, but comparatively little is known about its effects on perception and cognition in humans. We augmented the effects of ACh in the brains of healthy human participants by administering the cholinesterase inhibitor donepezil (trade name: Aricept). I will describe the effects of...   More >

Friday, November 9, 2018

Attentional Episodes and Cognitive Control

Seminar: Neuroscience Seminar | November 9 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 John Duncan, MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Abstract: Human fMRI studies show a tightly-localised set of “multiple-demand” or MD regions, involved in solution of many different cognitive challenges, widely separated yet strongly functionally connected, and linked to standard measures of fluid intelligence. Multiple-demand regions are generally associated with “cognitive control”, but how should control be conceived? Using data from...   More >

Thursday, November 15, 2018

How do Astrocytes Sculpt Synaptic Circuits?

Seminar: HWNI/MCB Seminar | November 15 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Li Ka Shing Center

 Cagla Eroglu, Duke University

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

How are synaptic networks formed during development and remodeled during learning and disease? This is the main question that drives our research. In particular, we investigate the roles of glial cells called astrocytes in the development, remodeling and function of synaptic circuits. In my talk, I will share findings from my lab on two distinct molecular mechanisms through which astrocytes...   More >

Monday, November 19, 2018

​Graduate Student Seminar

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | November 19 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Dylan Paiton, Olshausen Lab; Liz Lawler, Silver Lab

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Monday, November 26, 2018

Oxyopia Seminar

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | November 26 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Kurtis Auguste, Chief of Surgery, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Maternal gut bacteria, inflammation and neurodevelopmental disorder

Seminar | November 27 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition

 Jun R. Huh, Harvard University

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Neurocomputational mechanisms underlying social norms and controllability

Colloquium | November 28 | 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Xiaosi Gu, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

To maintain the normal functioning of a society, individuals must be able to learn to adapt to norms. Neuroimaging studies have suggested that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the insular cortex might be important for norm learning. However, norms are not static processes but rather, can be changed and updated if individuals of a society learn to act on them. In other words, the...   More >

Defects in mRNA translation and neurological disease

Seminar | November 28 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | 245 Li Ka Shing Center

 Susan Ackerman, University of California, San Diego

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Convergent circuitry for thermoregulation

Seminar | November 29 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition

 Lily Jan, University of California, San Francisco

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Monday, December 3, 2018

Oxyopia Seminar

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | December 3 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Kevin Duffy, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Gesture: its relationship to thinking and speaking

Seminar: ICBS Seminar | December 3 | 4-5 p.m. | 3335 Dwinelle Hall

 Sotaro Kita, University of Warwick

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

This presentation concerns a theory on how gestures (accompanying speaking and silent thinking) are generated and how gestures facilitate the gesturer's own cognitive processes. I will present evidence that gestures are generated from a general-purpose Action Generator, which also generates “practical” actions such as grasping a cup to drink, and that the Action Generator generates gestural...   More >

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Ion Channels as Organizers of Neuronal Signaling Domains

Seminar | December 6 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition

 James Trimmer, University of California, Davis, Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Writing Scientific Research Proposals

Workshop | December 11 | 12-1 p.m. | 177 Stanley Hall

 Erica Whitney, Berkeley Research Development Office

 Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

In this workshop, we will explore techniques and best practices for writing a research proposal in the sciences and engineering, from the beginning (the specific aims/objectives) to the middle (the research design and methods) to the very end (supplementary documents). We will look at examples of successful proposals and discuss the different techniques that can be used to effectively present...   More >

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Individual differences in brain development and plasticity - effects on learning

Colloquium | December 12 | 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Allyson Mackey, University of Pennsylvania

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Dr. Allyson Mackey will discuss her research on understanding individual differences in brain development and plasticity, and the impact of these differences on learning and academic performance. She will present research linking socioeconomic status, which encompasses a broad set of childhood experiences, to the structure and function of cortex. She then will examine the impact of specific...   More >

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Neural circuit mechanisms underlying cognition in rats

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | January 16 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center

 Carlos Brody, Howard Hughes Medical Institute & Princeton University

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

I will describe studies of the neural bases of cognitive processes. Rodents, mostly rats, are trained to perform behaviors that lend themselves to quantitative modeling that can help identify and assess specific cognitive processes, such as decision-making, short-term memory, planning, and executive control. With these well-quantified behaviors in hand, we then use electrophysiological...   More >

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Neuroscience Student Seminar: "Characterizing neural circuits during virtual navigation and decision-making"

Seminar | January 24 | 4-5 p.m. | 100 Genetics & Plant Biology Building | Note change in time

 David Tank, Princeton University

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

Monday, January 28, 2019

Neurophysiology of Spatial Learning and Memory

Colloquium | January 28 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 David Foster, Psychology

 Department of Psychology

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Representation Learning and Exploration in RL

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

 John Co-Reyes, UC Berkeley

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Sparse reward and long horizon tasks are among the most interesting yet challenging problems to solve in reinforcement learning. I will discuss recent work leveraging representation learning to tackle these sets of problems. We present a novel model which learns a latent representation of low-level skills by embedding trajectories with a variational autoencoder. Skills are learned in an...   More >

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Ubiquitin and the Endolysosomal Pathway at CNS synapses

Seminar | January 31 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition

 Patrick Gentry , University of California, San Diego

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Monday, February 4, 2019

Graduate Student Seminar

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | February 4 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Michael Telias, Postdoc in Richard Kramer's Lab; Joseph Leffler, PhD Candidate

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Michael Telias's Abstract
Retinoic acid is the trigger for neural hyperactivity in retinal degeneration and
blocking its receptor unmasks light responses and augments vision

Light responses are initiated in photoreceptors, processed by interneurons, and synaptically transmitted to retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which send information to the brain. Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a blinding...   More >

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Dynamic Neural Fields: the embodiment of neural computation

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | February 5 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 Yulia Sandamirskaya, Institute of Neuroinformatics, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Activity of neuronal populations in several cortical regions can be described by a Dynamic Neural Field (DNF) equation. A DNF is a continuous in time and in space activation function defined over a metric space spanned over perceptual (e.g., color, retinal location, orientation) or motor (e.g., orientation of the head, direction of movement) dimensions, in which neurons in the underlying...   More >

Clinical Science Colloquium

Colloquium | February 5 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Amit Etkin MD PhD

 Department of Psychology

Over the past two decades, neuroimaging studies have defined a set of distributed brain systems that contribute to cognition, emotion, mood and other mental processes. Perturbations in these circuits have been identified in different ways across psychiatric disorders. The challenge ahead of us is how to use these insights to: 1) understand the nature of neural circuit deficits in mental illnesses...   More >

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Computer Vision Beyond Recognition

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

 Stella Yu, UC Berkeley

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Computer vision has advanced rapidly with deep learning, achieving super-human performance on a few recognition benchmarks. At the core of the state-of-the-art approaches for image classification, object detection, and semantic/instance segmentation is sliding-window classification, engineered for computational efficiency. Such piecemeal analysis of visual perception often has trouble getting...   More >

Monday, February 11, 2019

Graduate Student Seminar

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | February 11 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Kelly Byrne, Silver Lab

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Perceptual Learning in Support of Language: Insights from Infants and Cochlear Implantees

Seminar: Psychology Seminar | February 11 | 12-1:30 p.m. | Berkeley Way West, Room 1102

 Heather Bortfeld, Ph.D., Professor, Psychological Sciences, University of California, Merced

 Department of Psychology

Cochlear implants improve the ability of profoundly deaf children to understand speech by allowing a way for sound to be transmitted to the brain despite the lack of a working conduction system in the inner ear. Much of what we know about the course of auditory learning following cochlear implantation in young children is based on behavioral indicators that they are able to perceive sound....   More >

Testing the role of the basal ganglia in choice

Colloquium | February 11 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Linda Wilbrecht, Psychology

 Department of Psychology

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Sensory Biology of Electroreception

Seminar | February 13 | 12-1 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center

 **Duncan Leitch**, University of California, San Franciso

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

CTRL-labs: Non-Invasive Neural Interfaces for Human Augmentation

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

 Patrick Kaifosh, PhD, CSO & Co-Founder, CTRL-labs

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

As the nervous system's evolved output, spinal motor neuron activity is from an evolutionary perspective a natural source of signals for a neural interface. Furthermore, the amplification of these signals by muscle fibers allows them to be measured non-invasively with surface electromyography (sEMG). CTRL-labs has developed a wireless wearable system that records state-of-the-art sEMG signals...   More >

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Investigations into the neuropsychology of face perception

Colloquium | February 20 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Brad Duchaine, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

I'll discuss two topics in my presentation. First, I'll provide an overview of previous studies examining the cognitive and neural basis of developmental prosopagnosia (DP), and then I'll discuss a recent fMRI study from my lab that assessed 26 category-selective areas in a relatively large sample of DPs. Our results revealed that face selectivity was reduced across the face network in the DPs...   More >

Church Encoding as the link between Cognition and Neuroscience

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | February 20 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 Steve Piantadosi, Dept. of Psychology, UC Berkeley

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

I’ll present an approach from mathematical logic which shows how sub-symbolic dynamics may give rise to higher-level cognitive representations of structures, systems of knowledge, and algorithmic processes. This approach posits that learners posses a system for expressing isomorphisms with which they create mental models with arbitrary dynamics. The theory formalizes one account of how novel...   More >

Alternative Splicing Choices for Synaptic Function

Seminar | February 20 | 12-1 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center

 **Andrea Gomez**, Biozentrum, University of Basel

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Statistics on Shape Data: Correcting an Asymptotic Bias in Template Shape Estimation

Seminar | February 20 | 4-5 p.m. | 1011 Evans Hall

 Nina Miolane, Stanford University

 Department of Statistics

Computational Anatomy aims to model and analyze healthy and pathological distributions of organ shapes. We are interested in the computational representation of the brain anatomy using brain MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). How can we define the notion of brain shapes and how can we learn their distribution in the population? Landmarks’ shapes, curve shapes or surface shapes can be seen as the...   More >

Monday, February 25, 2019


Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | February 25 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Dylan Paiton, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute; Elise Harb, UC Berkeley School of Optometry

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

OXYOPIA is a seminar series featuring lectures on basic, clinical, and applied research in vision. Unless otherwise noted, these lectures take place on Mondays 11:10 am to 12:30 pm in 489 Minor Hall. The lectures are free and open to the public.

What do language disorders reveal about the brain? From classic models to network approaches

Colloquium | February 25 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Nina Dronkers, Psychology

 Department of Psychology

Past approaches to the study of language and the brain have focused largely on the contributions of Broca's and Wernicke's areas. By using advanced neuroimaging techniques with individuals who have aphasia, we have now learned that language is an extraordinarily complex system that requires an extensive and interactive network of brain regions to sustain it. We have also learned that an intricate...   More >

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

ICBS Seminar

Seminar: ICBS Seminar | February 27 | 11 a.m.-1 p.m. | Berkeley Way West, 2121 Berkeley Way, room 1102

 Zach Pardos, Graduate School of Education and School of Information; Stella Yu, Berkeley Institute for Data Science, EECS

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

The Mind in Big Data, Zach Pardos

Learning with Minimal Human Supervision, Stella Yu

Monday, March 4, 2019

Graduate Student Seminar

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | March 4 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Katharina Foote, Roorda Lab; Liz Lawler, Silver Lab

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Katharina Foote's Abstract
Structure and function in retinitis pigmentosa patients with mutations in RHO vs. RPGR

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) causes slow, progressive, relentless death of photoreceptors. In order to gain insight on how cone survival differs between different mutations affecting rods vs. affecting rods and cones, we measured cone structure and function in patients with mutations...   More >

Maladaptive responding to the distress of others: Insights from developmental neuroscience

Colloquium | March 4 | 12:10-1:30 p.m. | 1102 Berkeley Way West

 Kalina Michalska, University of California, Riverside

 Department of Psychology

A fundamental question in developmental affective science is how children come to understand the emotions of others when deciding how to behave towards them. One consequential domain of such an ability is responding to others’ distress with empathy and kindness. In this talk, I will explore the neurobiological and social factors that lead some children to respond maladaptively to the distress of...   More >

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Reduce, reuse, recycle your vision: the basis of rich and stable perceptual experience

Lecture | March 6 | 3:15 p.m. | Alumni House, Toll Room

 David Whitney, Professor, UC Berkeley, Department of Psychology

 Department of Psychology

The visual world is cluttered, discontinuous, and noisy, but our perceptual experience is not—scenes appear rich, seamless, and stable. This seeming contradiction has posed a challenge for theories of perception for decades. In this talk, I will discuss two complementary processes that reconcile the contradiction: First, a mechanism that generates rich visual impressions by efficiently...   More >

Demystifying the Blackbox

Panel Discussion | March 6 | 6:30-8 p.m. | 120 Kroeber Hall

 Purin Phanichphant, Artist and Lecturer, Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation; Lydia Majure, Science policy advocate, Gallant Lab for Cognitive, Computational & Systems Neuroscience; Albert Lai, Data Scientist


What can neuroscience of human perception can learn from the design of artificial intelligence, and vice versa? Join a panel of scientists and artists for a discussion of how our brains work, how we design computer networks to think, and how we explore and illuminate the intangible concept of thought.

Scanning an Artificial Brain - installation by Purin Phanichphant

Friday, March 8, 2019

Astrocytes Accumulate Evidence that Actions are Futile and Trigger Behavioral State Switches in Zebrafish

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | March 8 | 2-3:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 Misha Ahrens, HHMI Janelia Research Campus

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

When a behavior repeatedly fails to achieve its goal, animals often give up and become passive, which can be strategic for preserving energy or regrouping between attempts. It is unknown how the brain identifies behavioral failures and mediates this behavioral state switch. In larval zebrafish swimming in virtual reality, visual feedback can be withheld so that swim attempts fail to trigger...   More >

Monday, March 11, 2019

A bottleneck for visual word recognition in brain and behavior

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | March 11 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Dr. Alex White, PhD, University of Washington

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

In most environments, the visual system is confronted with many relevant objects simultaneously. That is especially true during reading. How many words on this page can you recognize at once? I will present behavioral evidence that a fundamental processing bottleneck prevents recognition of more than one word at a time. I will then present a neuroimaging study designed to identify the source of...   More >

Aging, Memory and Alzheimer’s disease

Colloquium | March 11 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 William Jagust, Psychology

 Department of Psychology

It has long been known that older individuals often experience decline in their episodic memory abilities. Within the past decade, new approaches have revealed the frequent presence of the aggregated proteins beta-amyloid and tau in the brains of cognitively normal older people. These proteins are also associated with Alzheimer’s disease. By imaging these proteins in normal older people, and...   More >

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

ICBS Seminar

Seminar: ICBS Seminar | March 13 | 11 a.m.-1 p.m. | Berkeley Way West, 2121 Berkeley Way, Room 1217

 Steve Piantadosi, Dept of Psychology; Terry Deacon, Dept of Anthropology

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Number learning in the Bolivian Amazon, Steve Piantadosi

Patterns of early embryonic brain development in mammals, Terry Deacon

Monday, March 18, 2019

Adaptive changes in the adult visual system following visual deprivation

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | March 18 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Dr. MiYoung Kwon, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

As our population ages, a growing number of people must adapt to normal and pathological aging processes. Thus, understanding how the adult human brain deals with degraded sensory input is increasingly important. In this talk, I will present behavioral and brain-imaging evidence suggesting that visual deprivation results in compensatory changes in the adult human visual system. Here I will...   More >

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Biology as information dynamics

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | March 20 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 John Baez, UC Riverside

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

If biology is the study of self-replicating entities, and we want to understand the role of information, it makes sense to see how information theory is connected to the ‘replicator equation’ — a simple model of population dynamics for self-replicating entities. The relevant concept of information turns out to be the information of one probability distribution relative to another, also known as...   More >

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Covariant neural network architectures for learning physics

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | March 21 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 Risi Kondor, University of Chicago

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Deep neural networks have proved to be extremely effective in image recognition, machine translation, and a variety of other data centered engineering tasks. However, some other domains, such as learning to model physical systems requires a more careful examination of how neural networks reflect symmetries. In this talk we give an overview of recent developments in the field of...   More >

Frontostriatal computations in learning and decision making

Seminar | March 21 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition

 Michael Frank, Brown University

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

Friday, March 22, 2019

ICBS Special Event: The Neural Basis of Attention. Festschrift in Honor of Bob Rafal

Seminar: ICBS Seminar | March 22 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. | Berkeley Way West, 2121 Berkeley Way, Room 1102

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

This workshop will cover historical and contemporary perspectives on the neural basis of attention. Speakers will pay special tribute to the contributions and influences of Professor Robert Rafal, a cognitive and behavioral neurologist whose career focused on better understanding the neural underpinnings of attention, consciousness, eye movements, and perception. Bpb was a core member of the Bay...   More >

Neuroscience Student Seminar Series: "Working memory 2.0"

Seminar | March 22 | 12-1 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center | Note change in date and time

 Earl Miller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

Working Memory 2.0

Seminar: Neuroscience Seminar | March 22 | 12-1 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center

 Earl K. Miller, Picower Professor of Neuroscience, MIT

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Working memory is the fundamental function by which we break free from reflexive input-output reactions to gain control over our own thoughts. It has two types of mechanisms: online maintenance of information and its volitional or executive control. Classic models proposed persistent spiking for maintenance but have not explicitly addressed executive control. I will review recent theoretical and...   More >

Monday, April 1, 2019

An eye for detail: Attention and eye movements at the foveal scale

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | April 1 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Dr. Martina Poletti

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Imaging correlates of early pathology in Parkinson’s disease

Seminar: ICBS Seminar | April 3 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 1102 Berkeley Way West

 Johannes Klein, Nuffield Dept. of Clinical Neuroscience, Oxford University

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Parkinson’s disease affects around 1% of the population over 60, and the number of patients is rising with an aging population. To develop neurodegenerative therapies aiming to prevent conversion to or slow down progression of Parkinson’s, reliable biomarkers are needed to identify those at risk of PD, and to track disease progression. Detecting early pathology would allow for intervention before...   More >

Memcomputing: a brain-inspired computing paradigm

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | April 3 | 12 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 Massimiliano Di Ventra, Dept of Physics, UC San Diego

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Which features make the brain such a powerful and energy-efficient computing machine? Can we reproduce them in the solid state, and if so, what type of computing paradigm would we obtain? I will show that a machine that uses memory (time non-locality) to both process and store information, like our brain, and is endowed with intrinsic parallelism and information overhead – namely takes advantage,...   More >

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Role of Light Exposure in Eye Growth and Circadian Rhythm in Children and Adults

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | April 8 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Dr. Lisa Ostrin

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Light exposure has a close link with numerous aspects of human physiology, and has been implicated in circadian rhythm disturbances, mood disorders, cancer, and metabolic disorders. Light exposure may also play a role in ocular growth and myopia. Several studies have reported an association between time spent outdoors and myopia. With accumulating evidence to suggest that light exposure and...   More >

Social Curiosity and Social Learning

Colloquium | April 8 | 12:10-1:30 p.m. | 1102 Berkeley Way West

 Hyo Gweon, Stanford University, Department of Psychology

 Department of Psychology

Learning does not occur in isolation. From parent-child interactions to formal classroom environments, humans explore, learn, and communicate in rich, diverse social contexts. Rather than simply observing and copying their conspecifics, humans engage in a range of epistemic practices that actively recruit those around them. They query others to acquire useful information, consider others’ mental...   More >

Mechanisms of experience-dependent plasticity in GABAergic circuits: connecting genes to cell-types and circuit-functions

Seminar: Neuroscience Seminar | April 8 | 1-2:30 p.m. | 177 Life Sciences Addition

 Ivo Spiegel, Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

The ability to adapt and learn from the experience is essential for an animal’s survival and key questions in neuroscience concern the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms. In the adult cortex, it was suggested that particularly GABAergic interneurons in the supragranular layers of the cortex play key roles in regulating the experience-dependent plasticity of cortical circuits. However,...   More >

Synaptic signaling in cerebellar circuits

Seminar | April 8 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 2060 Valley Life Sciences Building | Note change in location

 Indira Raman, Northwestern University

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Contribution of Prefrontal Cortex to Human Behavior

Colloquium | April 8 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Bob Knight, Psychology

 Department of Psychology

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Latency and Structural Organization in Brain Computational Models

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | April 10 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 Pamela Douglas, UCLA

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

To bridge theory and experiment, we must test brain computational models that operate with neurobiologically plausible subcomponents, explain brain activity measurements, perform complex cognitive tasks, and generalize to new ones. In computational neuroscience, the observation that archetypal neuronal circuits exist in repeated motifs throughout the brain, gave rise to an important class of...   More >

Friday, April 12, 2019

3D Human Brain Models and Nanoplatforms for Prognostics and Therapeutics of Neurological Disorders: Nano Seminar Series

Seminar | April 12 | 2-3 p.m. | 4 LeConte Hall

 Prof. Hansang Cho, Univ of North Carolina, Charlotte / Biomedical Engineering

 Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia. However, no definitive cure for AD exists due to lack of limited model systems that accurately reflect AD-related immunity in human brains, nor for a drug development strategy for delivery across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and assessment of drug efficacy in human brains.

Here, I present micro-scaled 3D environments that...   More >

Monday, April 15, 2019

The third dimension of eye movements: torsion and visual-vestibular integration

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | April 15 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Dr. Jorge Otero-Millan, Johns Hopkins University

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Whenever we tilt our head towards the shoulder our eyes partially compensate by rotating around the line of sight in the opposite direction. This combination of head tilt and torsional eye movements results in a tilted retinal image, while we nevertheless perceive the world as still and upright. I will present the development of a new method to measure torsional eye movements reliably, which has...   More >

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Over-generalization in humans learning a complex skill

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | April 17 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 Gautam Agarwal, Champalimaud Institute of the Unknown, Lisboa

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Learning a complex skill requires traversing a potentially enormous search space. While reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms can approach human levels of performance in complex tasks, they require much more training to do so. This may be because humans constrain search problems with prior knowledge, allowing them to more rapidly discover solutions. Importantly, the statistics that underlie this...   More >

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Oxytocin-dependent reopening of a social reward learning critical period with MDMA

Lecture | April 18 | 3-4 p.m. | 3101 Berkeley Way West

 Gul Dolen MD PhD, Johns Hopkins

 Center for the Developing Adolescent

Monday, April 22, 2019

Pocket Doctors: Disease Diagnosis with Mobile Phones

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | April 22 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Daniel Fletcher, Bioengineering & Biophysics, UC Berkeley; Biological Systems & Engineering, LBNL Department Chair, Purnendu Chatterjee Chair in Engineering Biological Systems, Bioengineering

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Light microscopy remains a central tool for disease diagnosis. Direct imaging of diseased tissues as well as quantification of pathogens in blood, sputum, and stool can enable rapid screening and diagnosis of multiple diseases. However, microscopy traditionally requires advanced equipment and skilled users not available outside of well-equipped laboratories and hospitals. In recent years, mobile...   More >

Emotion-related impulsivity: Outcomes and Potential Mechanisms

Colloquium | April 22 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Sheri Johnson, Psychology

 Department of Psychology

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Complexity of linear regions in deep networks

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | April 24 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 David Rolnick, University of Pennsylvania

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

It is well-known that the expressivity of a neural network depends on its architecture, with deeper networks expressing more complex functions. For ReLU networks, which are piecewise linear, the number of distinct linear regions is a natural measure of expressivity. It is possible to construct networks for which the number of linear regions grows exponentially with depth. However, we show that...   More >

Thursday, April 25, 2019

NEURO/GGD Informal Seminar: The neuromodulatory connectome of C. elegans: wire and wireless signaling

Seminar | April 25 | 12-1 p.m. | 125 Li Ka Shing Center

 Bill Schafer, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge UK

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

Cortical circuits underlying visual perception

Seminar | April 25 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition

 Michael Higley, Yale University

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Friday, April 26, 2019

Cortical Circuits During Continuous Decision-Making

Lecture | April 26 | 12:30-1:30 p.m. | 177 Life Sciences Addition

 Christina Gremel, UCSD


Decision-making allows for adaptive behavior. The brain takes an active role in this process. It is not simply waiting to respond to incoming information from the world. I will show work where we use mouse model of self-initiated actions to probe orbital frontal and pre-motor circuit mechanisms underlying continuous decision-making.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

California Cognitive Science Conference: Constructing Happiness

Conference/Symposium | April 27 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. |  Hearst Memorial Mining Building

 June Gruber, University of Colorado, Boulder; Dacher Keltner, University of California, Berkeley

 David Presti, University of California, Berkeley; Dan Haybron, Saint Louis University; Steve Whittaker, University of California, Santa Cruz

 Qing Zhou, University of California, Berkeley

 Cognitive Science Program

The CCSC is an annual all-day symposium bringing together hundreds of students, researchers, and members of the general public from around the world who are passionate about the interdisciplinary field of Cognitive Science for a day of talks and research presentations. We feature talks given by prominent scientists and thinkers from a wide variety of disciplines, and our acclaimed poster session...   More >


  Buy tickets online

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Solving Hard Computational Problems using Oscillator Networks

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | May 1 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 Tianshi Wang, EECS, UC Berkeley

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Over the last few years, there has been considerable interest in Ising machines, ie, analog hardware for solving difficult (NP hard/complete) computational problems effectively. We present a new way to make Ising machines using networks of coupled self-sustaining nonlinear oscillators. Our scheme is theoretically rooted in a novel result that connects the phase dynamics of coupled oscillator...   More >

Thursday, May 2, 2019

How the brain represents objects

Seminar | May 2 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | 101 Life Sciences Addition

 Doris Tsao, Caltech

 Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

This seminar is partially sponsored by NIH

Monday, May 6, 2019

Between-individual variation in the human retina ultrastructure: the key for understanding everything from myopia to AMD?

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | May 6 | 11:10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Rigmor Baraas, OD, PhD, National Centre for Optics, Vision and Eye Care, Department of Optometry, Radiography and Lighting Design, University of South-Eastern Norway, Kongsberg, Norway

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) have become invaluable tools for mapping the ultrastructure of the retina in living humans. OCT imaging has revealed considerable variation in retinal layer thickness, foveal shape and morphology. AOSLO imaging has revealed large variation in cone mosaics, both peak and eccentricity dependence density...   More >

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

ICBS Seminar

Seminar: ICBS Seminar | May 8 | 11 a.m.-1 p.m. | Berkeley Way West, 2121 Berkeley Way, Room 1217

 Anca Dragan, EECS; Emily Cooper, Vis Science

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Optimal Robot Action for and around People, Anca Dragon

3D Vision in Natural Environments, Emily Cooper

Contact lens optics and binocular vision in childhood myopia

Seminar: Oxyopia Seminar | May 8 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. |  100 Minor Addition

 Kate Gifford, Clinical Optometrist - Gerry & Johnson Optometrists, Visiting Research Fellow - Queensland University of Technology (QUT) School of Optometry and Vision Science

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

A globally growing prevalence of myopia has led to increasing investigation and development of optical corrections which slow its progression. Overnight orthokeratology (OK, also known as corneal reshaping) and multifocal soft contact lenses (MFSCLs) show the most consistent results for reducing axial and refractive progression in childhood myopia, by around 50%, with only some understanding of...   More >

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Informational Appetites + (un)Natural Statistics = “Screen Addiction”

Seminar: Redwood Seminar | May 15 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 560 Evans Hall

 William Softky, Visiting scholar, Bioengineering Department, Stanford University

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

It is a truth not yet universally acknowledged that a self-regulating system which is stable in one environment can become unstable when the environment changes. This truth is called homeostatic fragility. Mathematically, the key mechanism is sign-reversal, which converts a negative-feedback loop into a positive-feedback loop. Sign-reversal explains all sorts of self-regulatory malfunctions in...   More >

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Why Do Line Drawings Work?

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

 Aaron Hertzmann, Adobe Research

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

A long-standing puzzle in perception is the question: why is it so easy for us to understand shape in line drawings, even though they do not correspond to any real-world percept? Past theories have been unsatisfactory, for example, hypothesizing that line drawings are a culturally-specific learned language, or that line drawings “trick” V1 into treating lines as step edges at object contours. I...   More >

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Frontal cortical dynamics during decision-making

Lecture | June 13 | 12-1 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Alex Kwan, Yale

 Department of Psychology

In a dynamic environment, animals must adjust their action plans to match the behavioral demands. For example, the same sensory stimulus may require different motor responses depending on the context. The mammalian prefrontal cortex is thought to be a central node mediating flexible behavior, however the synaptic and circuit mechanisms remain poorly understood.
In this talk, I will describe our...   More >

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Science Lecture - Mapping syntactic structure in the brain

Lecture | June 15 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 100 Genetics & Plant Biology Building

 Lydia Majure


We all remember learning sentence diagrams and part-of-speech in grade school, but are those the underlying representations of syntactic structure in the brain? Neuroimaging allows us to answer this and other questions about language by providing a mechanism to test hypotheses about cognitive processes.

Carousel - Elizabeth Jameson

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Remote Control to Switch Neurons On: This presentation will be given in Spanish

Colloquium: Neuroscience Seminar | June 25 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | 271 Oakland Public Library

 3301 East 12th Street, Oakland, CA 94601

 Miriam Hernandez-Morales, UC Berkeley


The brain is the most complex and fascinating organ because it makes us who we are. The brain produces each of our thoughts, decisions, feelings, learnings, and memories. Humankind has been intrigued for a long time with questions such as: how does the brain work? How are the billion neurons interconnected in a human brain? How is information coded by the neurons? Although we still lack all the...   More >