Linda Wilbrecht

Research Expertise and Interest

neuroscience, adolescence, autism, early life adversity, neuroplasticity, dopamine, Food Insecurity, bipolar disorder

Research Description

Linda Wilbrecht is a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience.  Her research interests include: experience dependent plasticity and the development of circuits involved in learning and decision making. Projects in the lab focus on sensitive periods, adolescent development, addiction/substance use related behavior, autism, and bipolar disorder.

In the News

Food Insecurity Has Lasting Impacts on the Brains and Behavior of Mice

While food insecurity is a problem for a growing segment of the U.S. population — made even worse by the coronavirus pandemic — few studies have looked at the effect that feast or famine has on the developing brain in isolation from other factors that contribute to adversity. A new study by neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, simulated the effects of food insecurity in juvenile mice and found lasting changes later in life.

Intellectual Pursuits May Buffer the Brain Against Addiction

Challenging the idea that addiction is hardwired in the brain, a new UC Berkeley study of mice suggests that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment can rewire the brain’s reward system and buffer it against drug dependence.

The Adolescent Brain Grows Up

Neuroscientist Linda Wilbrecht can observe “rewiring” in the living brain using an imaging instrument called a twophoton laser scanning microscope, which has a resolution better than 1/10,000 of an inch.

Cocaine’s effect on mice may explain human drug-seeking behavior

Cocaine can speedily rewire high-level brain circuits that support learning, memory and decision-making, according to new research from UC Berkeley and UCSF. The findings shed new light on the frontal brain’s role in drug-seeking behavior and may be key to tackling addiction.

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