Last Saturday October 20, four UC Irvine CNLM Ambassadors spent their morning at Newport Beach’s Oasis Senior Center participating in the Oasis Senior Health and Resource Fair. The event brought together members of the Orange County Community with vendors, nonprofits and university partners to discuss healthy aging. The Ambassadors who participated are all doctoral students and research staff at UCI who are passionate about community engagement and education. In addition to giving out fun brain prizes, the scientists provided materials from the National Institutes of Health, the Dana Foundation and the National Science Foundation and answered questions about important lifestyle factors that affect how we age including exercise, nutrition, sleep and social engagement. They also brought a real preserved human brain that attendees could hold. “Nothing quite compares to the feeling of holding a real human brain in your own hands. It is an experience that is difficult to forget,” says Manuella Yassa, Director of the CNLM Ambassador Program. Participating in events like the Oasis Senior Health and Resource Fair is a wonderful experience for the junior scientists who have the opportunity to take the knowledge they are creating in the laboratory and disseminate it directly to the community. Myra Sarai Larson and Elena Dominguez, co-chairs of the Adult Programs Committee of the Ambassador Program aim to engage the Orange County adult community in brain science to create a dialogue wherein scientists inform the community and the community in turn informs the scientists.  Scientist-community partnerships enrich society and improve the quality of our science.

About the CNLM Ambassador Program
The CNLM Ambassador program brings together a community of brain scientists who are interested in scientific communication, outreach and public education. The mission of the CNLM Ambassador Program is to enhance public engagement with science. Learn more about the CNLM Ambassador Program here.

Interested in participating in brain research at UC Irvine?
There are various opportunities to volunteer as a research participant at UC Irvine. Because we can’t study the human brain without…human brains, your participation in our research studies is truly invaluable. To learn more about how you can help advance our understanding of the brain by volunteering as a research participant at the CNLM, click here.

Meet the Ambassadors who participated in this event:

Elena Dominguez is a 2nd year doctoral student working toward her Ph.D. in Neurobiology under the mentorship of Dr. Craig Stark and Dr. Claudia Kawas. Elena’s research is focused on understanding the aging brain in individuals over 90 years old. Elena is co-chair of the Adult Committee of the CNLM Ambassador Program



Myra Sarai Larson is a Clinical Project Coordinator in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Yassa. Myra coordinates the clinical studies of the Yassa Translational Neurobiology Lab which aims to understand the brain using neuroimaging techniques.



Logan Harriger is a 4th year doctoral student working toward his Ph.D. in Mathematical and Computational Biology under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Yassa. Logan’s research focuses on understanding the structure and function of brain oscillations (brain waves) and how they support cognition.



Alexandria Weaver is a 1st year doctoral student working toward her Ph.D. in Education. The focus of Alexandria’s research is understanding the effects of music on learning and memory and how musical training may affect cognition.