2016/17 Recipients

The recipients of the 2016/17 UCSF-UCB Sackler Faculty Exchange Program are Dr. Jose Carmena,  Dr. Kevin Healy, and Dr. Ming Hsu from UC Berkeley.


Jose Carmena

Jose Carmena, UCB. Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences; and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute

Title: Operant conditioning of abnormal cortical activity in Parkinson’s disease

In collaboration with colleagues at UCSF, and with support from the Sackler Program, Jose Carmena will pilot a novel approach to exploring the importance of specific brain rhythms in producing motor deficits in Parkinson’s disease, by training subjects to change those rhythms in an operant conditioning paradigm and measuring associated changes in parkinsonian motor signs.

Jose M. Carmena is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Neuroscience at UC Berkeley, and Co-Director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses at UCB and UCSF. His expertise is in brain-machine interfaces, an area of high relevance for normal and disordered sensorimotor function. His lab is known for seminal studies showing how neural plasticity relates to the acquisition and consolidation of neuroprosthetic skills in the mammalian brain, and is also very active in the development of neurotechnology and in closed-loop decoding algorithms for neuroprosthetic control. Dr. Carmena received a number of honors, including the Bakar Fellow award, the IEEE-EMBS Early Career Achievement Award, the Aspen Brain Forum Prize in Neurotechnology, the NSF CAREER Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and the Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award.

Kevin Healy

Kevin Healy, UCB. Bioengineering; and Materials Science and Engineering

Title:  Organs on a chip – the future of personalize medicine

Kevin Healy is an innovator working at the interface between stem cells and materials science to develop dynamic engineered systems to explore both fundamental biological phenomena and new applications in translational medicine. His group currently conducts research on human tissue models for drug discovery (e.g. organs-on-chips), which is traditionally hampered by high failure rates attributed to reliance on non-human animal models that poorly replicate human disease states. In collaboration with colleagues at UCSF, Healy’s group is developing multi-organ systems to circumvent this problem by understanding the fundamental relations between critical organs (i.e. heart, liver) as a complex living system, and to accurately predict the tissue- and system-specific effect of drugs before human administration. The Sackler sabbatical exchange will foster new lines of inquiry and accelerate the research program so that both healthy and disease-specific multi-organ systems become indispensable for drug discovery and patient specific medicine.

Dr. Healy is the Jan Fandrianto and Selfia Halim Distinguished Professor in Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in the Departments of Bioengineering, and Materials Science and Engineering.

Ming Hsu

Ming Hsu, UCB. Haas School of Business; and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute

Title:  Neuroeconomic Assessment of Decision-Making: Translational and Commercial Applications

The Sackler award will leverage the unparalleled strength of UCB and UCSF in basic and clinical neurosciences, as well as the deep knowledge of fostering entrepreneurship excellence at Berkeley-Haas so as to (1) bring recent scientific advances in understanding neural basis of financial and social decision-making to clinical settings, and to (2) explore potential commercial
applications of this knowledge.

Ming Hsu’s lab takes an interdisciplinary approach to study the biological basis of economic and consumer decision-making at a number of different levels of analyses, including: (i) brain regions mediating computations involved in different aspects of decision-making, (ii) the underlying molecular, cellular, and genetic mechanisms, and (iii) how real-world outcomes are associated with variations in these processes.   Dr. Hsu is Associate Professor at the Haas School of Business and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, UC Berkeley. He is the recipient of awards from the NIH, Hellman Family Family Fund, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Risk Management Institute.