Building meaningful partnerships at UCI and in the community

CNLM Ambassador Program

The CNLM Ambassador Program, led by Manuella Yassa, Director of Outreach and Education, aims to advance public understanding of brain science through outreach and educational activities. The engine of the program is the group of more than 50 UC Irvine undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who design, execute and evaluate meaningful activities on campus and in the community throughout the year. The program provides meaningful leadership opportunities for UC Irvine brain scientists as well as professional development training in scientific communication, educational program outcome design and evaluation.

The committees include:

  • Brain Bee Committee
  • Communications Committee
  • K-12 Events Committee
  • Adult Events Committee
  • Program Outcomes Committee
    If you are interested in becoming a CNLM Ambassador please reach out to the program chairs, Miranda Chappel-Farley and Caden Henningfield.

CNLM Ambassador Leadership

Manuella Yassa

Program Director

Director of Outreach and Education Center for the Neurobiology of Learning an Memory

Contact Manuella

Miranda Chappel-Farley

Program Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Miranda

Caden Henningfield

Program Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Caden

Desiree Macchia

K-12 Committee Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Desiree

Elizabeth Hubbard

K-12 Committee Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Elizabeth

Bianca Leonard

Adult Program Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Bianca

Kate Inman Tsourmas

Adult Program Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Kate

Aby Flores

Communications Committee Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Aby

Zahara Keulen

Communications Committee Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Zahara

Rachael Hokenson

Brain Bee Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Rachael

Winny Ning

Brain Bee Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Winny

Keiland Cooper

Outcomes Committee Co-Chair

Graduate Student

Contact Keiland

Who are the CNLM Ambassadors?

"I study the development of Alzheimer's Disease so I can discover new ways to prevent or slow it."

Andra Ionescu, Graduate Student

Andra Ionescu Headshot

"My graduate research is focused on clarifying both the positive and negative roles of human microglia in Alzheimer’s disease with the hope of identifying novel methods of modulating AD-related pathology."

Jonathan Hasselman, Graduate Student

Brain Explorer Academy Mentor, Jonathan Hasselman

"I am interested in examining how our brains are affected by our mood, and how they might be changed by mood-related disorders such as depression."

Joren Adams, Research Specialist

Joren Adams Headshot

"I am interested in how the early-life environment can shape brain development and later risk for neuropsychiatric disorders. I am currently investigating how microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, may play a role in this developmental programming."

Jessica Bolton, Postdoctoral Fellow

Jessica Bolton Headshot

"I like to learn about the brain because it's really cool how it controls everything from breathing to our heartbeats without us having to think about it. Currently, I study nicotine and cannabis addiction behaviors using rodent models."

Angeline Eugene, Graduate Student

UCI Neuroscience PhD candidate, Angeline Dukes, at Fisk Research Symposium

"I am interested in how the fluid that bathes the central nervous system may be playing a role in neurodegeneration."

Isabella Sanchez, Graduate Student


"I think the brain is endlessly fascinating -- the more you know, the more there is to know!"

Noora Siddiqui, Graduate Student

Noora Siddiqui Headshot

"I use intracranial recordings in pre-surgical epilepsy patients to study how the brain creates and retrieves precise spatial memories."

Rebecca Stevenson, Graduate Student


"I find it fascinating that cultural experience shapes memory and perception. My research studies how exposure to people of different races affects how well we remember their faces."

Jessie Yaros, Graduate Student

Jessie Yaros Headshot

"My research group is working to identify mechanisms of drug addiction, particularly in adolescents and what contributes to their onset of drug use."

Michelle Ren, Graduate Student

Brain Explorer Academy Mentor, Michelle Ren

"I am passionate about researching the molecular mechanisms that underlie brain degeneration. In Dr. Blurton-Jones' lab I am studying how the immune cells of the brain influence the onset of Alzheimer's disease."

Amanda McQuade, Graduate Student

"I am interested in understanding the neural circuitry underlying motivated behavior, and how these circuits go awry in psychiatric diseases."

Mitch Farrell, Graduate Student

Brain Explorer Academy Mentor, Mitchell Farrell

"The brain is one of the most fascinating and complex things in existence. There is still infinitely more to learn!"

Michelle Doan, Academic Counselor

CNLM Ambassador

"My research objectives are focused on the definition of neurobiological mechanisms in the brain circuits involved in the emergence and maintenance of drug research behaviors that characterize addiction; and on downstream mechanisms that regulate drug reinforcement, maintenance of drug research behavior, and memory for drug-related stimuli."

Valeria Lallai, Graduate Student

"I am interested in examining the brain circuitry that underlies learning and memory and understanding how these circuits go awry in neuropsychiatric disorders."

Brittney Cox, Postdoctoral Fellow

Brittney Cox Headshot

"I focus on cognitive aging in individuals 90 and older by studying the human brain through structural MRI scans. With this, I hope to find biomarkers of preserved memory in advanced aging."

Elena Dominguez, Graduate Student

Elena Dominguez Headshot