Picking Brains

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Dr. Andy Dillin

Official Bio: Andy Dillin is a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1993 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1998. He subsequently completed his postdoctoral work with Cynthia Kenyon at the University of California, San Francisco. Andy accepted his first tenure-track faculty position at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego in 2002. In 2012, he was recruited as a faculty member to the University of California, Berkeley. The Dillin Lab studies how cells within animals age and which molecules are responsible for communicating the process of aging across different cell types.

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Dr. Marla Feller

Official Bio: Marla Feller is a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her A.B. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1985, and her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1991. She completed her first postdoctoral fellowship with David Tank at Bell Laboratories, and was subsequently a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow with Carla Shatz at the University of California, Berkeley. She accepted her first tenure track position at the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) in Bethesda, Maryland in 1998. In 2000, she moved to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where she received tenure in 2005. In 2007, she moved her lab to the University of California, Berkeley. The Feller Lab uses electrophysiology and advanced microscopy techniques to investigate the mechanisms underlying spontaneous activity in the developing nervous system, with a specific focus on the development of retinal circuits.

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Dr. Andrea Gomez

Official Bio:Andrea Gomez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her B.S. in Biological and Biomedical Sciences from Colorado State University, and her Ph.D. in Developmental Genetics from New York University. She was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel in Basel, Switzerland, before joining the faculty at Berkeley last year. Andrea is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Gomez Lab, which studies the instructive cues that organize neural networks and brain activity using methods from molecular biology as well as functional imaging and electrophysiology.

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Dr. Rich Ivry

Official Bio: Rich Ivry is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Brown University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon. He completed his postdoctoral work at the University of Oregon and the Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, where he researched patients experiencing neurological disorders in the motor domain. Rich accepted his first faculty position at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) before eventually transferring to the University of California, Berkeley, where he is the principal investigator (PI) of the Cognition and Action (CognAC) Lab. The CognAC uses functional MRI (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in conjunction with various behavioral, perceptual and cognitive tasks to study both healthy participants and patient populations.

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Dr. Bill Jagust

Official Bio:Bill Jagust is a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and the School of Public Health, where he holds the Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Neurology at UCSF. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Reed College in 1974, and his M.D. from State University of New York, Stony Brook in 1978. He completed a Residency in Neurology at Boston University in 1983, followed by a postdoctoral position at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. He then became a professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine, where he directed the Alzheimer’s Disease Center and was the chair of Neurology. In 2004, he left Davis to join the faculty at UC Berkeley. The Jagust Lab studies brain aging and dementia using a variety of techniques including positron emission tomography (PET), structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), neuropsychology, and cognitive neuroscience. The lab also works to develop and refine neuroimaging techniques at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. Additionally, Prof. Jagust leads the PET Core of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a multicenter, multimodal brain imaging project. In 2013, Professor Jagust received the Potamkin Prize, the highest honor in dementia research.

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Dr. Na Ji

Official Bio: Na Ji is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics, the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her B.S. in Chemical Physics from the University of Science and Technology of China and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. She subsequently pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in imaging and microscopy techniques at the Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Na became a group leader at Janelia in 2011 before returning to Berkeley as a principal investigator (PI) in 2016. The Ji Lab uses concepts developed in astronomy and optics to develop and applies novel imaging techniques to explore the complex computations occurring in the brain.

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Dr. Bruno Olshausen

Official Bio: Bruno Olshausen is a Professor in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, and the School of Optometry, and Director of the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience . He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Computation and Neural Systems from the California Institute of Technology. He did his postdoctoral work in the Department of Psychology at Cornell University and at the Center for Biological and Computational Learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1996-2005 he was on the faculty in the Center for Neuroscience at UC Davis, and in 2005 he moved to UC Berkeley. Olshausen's research focuses on understanding the information processing strategies employed by the visual system for tasks such as object recognition and scene analysis. The aim of this work is not only to advance our understanding of the brain but also to devise new algorithms for image analysis based on how brains work.

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Dr. Joni Wallis

Official Bio: Joni Wallis is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. Originally from England, she received a B.Sc. in Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Manchester, and a Ph.D. in Anatomy from the University of Cambridge. She completed her postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she studied how the prefrontal cortex is involved in goal-directed decision-making. She subsequently moved to Berkeley, where she is now a principal investigator (PI) studying the functional organization of the brain’s frontal cortex using neurophysiology, enabling investigation into high-level cognitive processes at the single-neuron level.

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