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

Meet Our Team


Michael Yassa, Ph.D.

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

Ph: (949) 824-1687  |  Email:  |  Office: 309 QRL


Sunil Gandhi, Ph.D.
Associate Director

Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
B.S., Stanford University

Ph: (949) 824-9051  |  Email: |  Office: 2146 McGaugh Hall


Manuella Yassa, B.A.
Director of Outreach and Education

B.A., Johns Hopkins University

Manuella was born in Brazil and raised in the Bay Area. She completed undergraduate studies in neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University, followed by advanced training at JHU’s School of Education. She then worked as a middle school science teacher in Baltimore’s impoverished inner city public school system. This experience was a major influence that motivated Manuella to take on the role of leading the CNLM’s outreach and education programs.

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


Diana Lofflin, B.A.
Director of Strategic Communications

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: 1414 Biological Sciences III


Jennifer L. Smith
Senior Director of Development, University Initiatives

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

Ph: (949)824-0298  |  Email:  |  Office: 100 Theory, Suite 250


Michael Gomez, B.S.
Operations Coordinator

B.S. Biological Sciences
University of California, Irvine

Michael was raised in Guatemala and transferred to UCI in the fall of 2016 after attending El Camino Community College in the city of Torrance. He graduated from UCI in 2018 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences.  Michael enjoys reading, dance, nature, sports, and conversations. He is fascinated with the notion of consciousness, the fate of the cosmos, and the wonders of the natural world.  Michael is excited to be part of the CNLM team, especially its outreach and education efforts.


Faculty Fellows

The 72 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 50 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 Chair of the CNLM Ambassadors for 2018-2019 are Jessica Noche and Rachon Sweiss.


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