Skip to main content

Above: T2-weighted MRI from a 3-year old California sea lion, Cronut, with epilepsy caused by repeated exposure to domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced in some harmful algae blooms. This scan was taken in Oct 2018. In Oct 2020 the images were used to plan a novel neurosurgery performed by UCSF neurosurgeons. Progenitor cells were injected into Cronut‘s left hippocampus, which had atrophied due to epileptic seizures. The hope is that these cells will become inhibitory interneurons and arrest his seizures. The New York Times wrote an article describing the surgery. More details are available from a UCSF news article.

See the Projects page for more Wheeler LABS research


Welcome to the Wheeler Laboratory for Advanced Brain Studies. Wheeler LABS is a group of scientists dedicated to developing innovative methods to study brain function, with the goal of translating these methods into clinically useful tools. Funding for the initiative has been provided by a generous gift to us from the Wheeler Foundation.

About Wheeler LABS

We evolved out of the Henry H. Wheeler, Jr. Brain Imaging Center (BIC), which is a campus-wide resource that supports advanced brain imaging technologies dedicated to basic and clinical brain research. The BIC began in 2000 as a single MRI scanner in a prefabricated building. Today, BIC resides in a purpose-built space in Li Ka Shing Center that can accommodate three scanners, as well as a lab for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), an electronics shop, a mechanical/fabrication shop including 3D printers, and behavioral testing rooms. BIC’s growth led quite naturally to a large, diverse range of collaborations with BIC scientists as the hub. In late 2019, we decided it was time to give this group its own identity, and to foster even greater collaborations by dedicating our mission to fulfilling Sam Wheeler’s original vision.