It takes a talent, dedication, and inspiration to bring people together

Meet Our Team

CNLM Director, Michael Yassa

Michael Yassa, Ph.D.

Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
B.A. and M.A., Johns Hopkins University

Ph: (949) 824-1687  |  Email:  |  Office: 320 QRL

Diana Lofflin Headshot

Diana Lofflin, B.A.
Chief Administrative Officer

B.A., Willamette University

Prior to joining the CNLM team, Diana served as the Director of Communications in the UCI Office of the Provost where she worked on many cross-disciplinary projects and community engagement initiatives. She specializes in leveraging technology and design to make complex concepts accessible to a general audience. Her diverse skillset -- including strategic planning, graphic design, website development, and social media strategy -- will be instrumental in bringing the important work happening at the CNLM to a larger audience.

Ph: (949) 824-4186  |  Email:  |  Office: 320 QRL

CNLM Team - Manuella Oliveira Yassa

Manuella Oliveira Yassa, Ph.D.
Director of Outreach and Education

Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
University of California, Irvine
Johns Hopkins University

Manuella was born in Brazil and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She completed her Bachelor's degree in neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University, and Master's and Doctoral degrees in Social Ecology with a focus on neuroscience education and the impact of university-community partnerships on the diversity of the STEM educational system and workforce.

Ph: (949) 824-5193  |  Email:  |  Office: 309 QRL

Eleanor Chan

Eleanor Chan
Chief of Financial Affairs and Sponsored Projects

B.A., University of California Los Angeles

Eleanor is a graduate of UCLA and has been working at UCI since 2002 in divisions spanning Biological Sciences and Medicine. She is highly experienced in financial management and contracts & grants administration.

Email:  |  Office: 320 QRL


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Raymond D. Villareal, Ed.S., NCSP
Outreach and Education Assistant

Ed.S. and M.Ed., College of William and Mary
University of California, Irvine

Prior to joining the CNLM team, Raymond served as a psychometrist and school psychologist for low-income students and incarcerated adults throughout Texas and Virginia. Raymond is currently a Ph.D. student in the Neurobiology and Behavior program in the School of Biological Sciences at UCI, researching on the effects of trauma on executive functioning and learning. Through advocacy and research, Raymond aims to improve access and educational outcomes for underrepresented minorities and low-income students interested in neuroscience, psychology, and education.

Ph: (949) 824-5193  |  Email:  |  Office: 320 QRL


CNLM Executive Director of Development, Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith, M.S.
Executive Director of Development

B.A., University of California, Los Angeles
M.S., University of Nevada-Las Vegas 



Morgan Coburn, Ph.D.
Neuroscience Outreach and Education Fellow

Ph.D and M.S., University of California, Irvine
B.A., Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley

Morgan grew up in San Juan Capistrano, before she traveled to Western Massachusetts to complete her Bachelors in Neuroscience and Behavior at Mount Holyoke College. She returned to Southern California to complete her Masters and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences in the laboratory of Dr. Mathew Blurton-Jones. Her doctoral research focused on human microglial dynamics in Alzheimer’s Disease. Morgan then completed a Postdoc at the University of Virginia with Dr. Ukpong Eyo before returning to the CNLM team. In her role, she works to advance the Outreach and Education goals of the CNLM to create accessible, equitable, and high-quality learning experiences in partnership with communities.



Cecilia Szarnyasi, B.A.
Center Administrator

B.A., California State University, Fullerton

Cecilia completed her bachelor’s degree in business administration at California State University, Fullerton. Before joining the CNLM team, Cecilia worked at the UCI School of Law as an Events Assistant, helping both with administrative tasks and day-of coordination for events. She will be assisting the CNLM with day-to-day tasks, financial reimbursements, human resources, and general administrative duties.

Ph: (949) 824-5193  |  Email:  |  Office: 320 QRL

Jessica Ha

Jessica Ha
Student Administrative Assistant

Undergraduate, University of California, Irvine

Jessica is a Human Biology Major and a Business Entrepreneurship Minor at UC Irvine. As a research assistant, she studies early childhood development in the Yassa Lab and volunteers weekly with dementia focused programs. She is eager to pursue a career in psychiatry and hopes to attend medical school following her undergraduate education. Currently, she acts as a student administrative assistant for CNLM.


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Nuo Yang
Student Administrative Assistant

Undergraduate, University of California, Irvine

Nuo grew up in Oakland, CA before pursuing a Bachelors in Business Economics at UC Irvine. With a focus in marketing, she’s currently expanding her experience in social media and graphic design. She hopes to pursue a career in corporate law and looks forward to attending law school after graduating from UCI. She currently works as a Special Projects Assistant at the CNLM and organizes social media content.


Executive Committee

Sunil Gandhi
Vice Chair of the Executive Committee

Marcelo Wood
Chair, Neurobiology & Behavior

Christine Gall
Chair, Anatomy & Neurobiology


Gary Lynch
Distinguished Professor, Psychiatry

Bruce McNaughton
Distinguished Professor, Neurobiology & Behavior

Barbara Dosher
Distinguished Professor, Cognitive Science


Faculty Fellows

The 123 Faculty Fellows of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory make up the core of the Center. Our Fellows have appointments in a wide range of departments in including Neurobiology and Behavior, Engineering, Psychology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Cognitive Sciences, Anatomy and Neurobiology and Pharmacology because they tackle the study of the neurobiology of learning and memory from different angles, using different tools. To learn more about the Faculty Fellows of the CNLM, please click here.

CNLM Ambassadors

The CNLM Ambassadors are a group of over 70 undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff and community members who are passionate about brain awareness, education and outreach. The group engages in brain awareness activities both on the UC Irvine campus and in K-12 schools, community centers and senior centers in Orange County and Southern California. Click here to learn more about the CNLM Ambassadors Program.

The Chairs of the CNLM Ambassadors for 2022-2023 academic year are Caden Henningfield and Miranda Chappel-Farley.


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