The Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory was founded in 1995 by James L. McGaugh, Founding Director of the CNLM. The lectures are an integral part of the CNLM's outreach mission and are intended for a lay audience. The series is widely regarded as the most successful public lecture series at UC Irvine and in Orange County.

Dr. McGaugh was the series' inaugural speaker in 1995 and has been the distinguished speaker on numerous occasions. Series speakers are world-renowned scientists who have made significant advances to brain research, particularly in the area of learning and memory. The speakers are chosen not only for the reputation of their research, but also for their ability to convey the importance and implications of that research to a lay audience.

The Public Lecture Series is supported by the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, in partnership with the Ayala School of Biological Sciences, and Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders. Public lectures have been held each year since 1995, and attract capacity audiences of Irvine and Orange County community members, professionals and high school and college students.

Lectures are held at the Irvine Barclay Theatre (adjacent to the UCI campus) at 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Parking is provided in an adjacent structure for $10.

Lectures are free of charge but we registration is required and early arrival is highly recommended. 

Attendees are provided with ample opportunity to interact with and ask questions of the speakers. Lectures are generally 45-50 minutes long and are followed by about 20-30 minutes of questions from the audience. Each lecture is preceded by a special backstage reception in honor of the speaker, which is attended by Friends of the CNLM, as well as CNLM Fellows and UCI's leadership. To inquire about how to join the Friends and receive VIP tickets to the backstage reception, please click here.

After the lecture, cookies are served in the lobby, where audience members have a chance to meet and interact with the speaker one-on-one.

Barclay Lectures are uploaded to our YouTube channel and available for viewing at any time.

Past Lectures

The 25th Distinguished Lecture on Brain, Learning, and Memory

Can we create new senses for humans? 

David M. Eagleman, Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University School of Medicine

Monday January 28, 2018 | 7:30 PM
Irvine Barclay Theatre

The 25th Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory presents Dr. David Eagleman, Stanford Neuroscientist and bestselling author. Dr. Eagleman is known for his research on brain plasticity, time perception and synesthesia. He is the author of many books including The Runaway Species, The Brain, Incognito and Wednesday is Indigo Blue in addition to a cognitive neuroscience textbook, Brain and Behavior. Dr. Eagleman has been a TED speaker and a guest on the Colbert Report. He is also the writer and presenter of the Emmy-nominated international television series, The Brain with David Eagleman.

The 24th Distinguished Lecture on Brain, Learning, and Memory

Click to view the lecture

Linking Brains to Machines: From Basic Science to Neurorehabilitation

Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience
Co-Director, Center for Neuroengineering
Duke University

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 7:30PM
Event is FREE to the public, tickets are required.
Please call (949) 824-5193 or email us to inquire.

The UC Irvine Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (CNLM), Ayala School of Biological Sciences and Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) invite you to the 24th UC Irvine Distinguished Lecture on Brain, Learning and Memory. This year’s event will feature a presentation by Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience at Duke University and one of the world’s leading brain scientists. Dr. Nicolelis will discuss discoveries in his laboratory that have connected brains to machines and have created a world in which paraplegics have a chance to walk again.

Dr. Miguel Nicolelis is a Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He is the founder of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering and the Walk Again Project, an international consortium of scientists and engineers dedicated to the development of an exoskeleton device to assist paralyzed patients in regaining full mobility.

Dr. Nicolelis is an advocate for strengthening science education, technology and innovation, and is the author of several books including Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines – and How it will Change Our Lives. His transformative research has been published in Nature, Science and Scientific Americanand has been reported in Newsweek, Time and Discover.

As the world’s most influential neuroscientist alive today, Dr. Nicolelis has paved the way in the field of Brain-Machine Interface, and his discoveries have created a world in which paraplegics have a chance of walking again. Dr. Nicolelis has also developed an integrative approach to studying neurological and psychiatric disorders that will allow for a more complete understanding of Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder.

2017 - The Twenty-Third Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

What can we learn from the sleeping brain?
Ruth Benca, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Psychiatry and Human Behavior, UC Irvine School of Medicine
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 7:30 PM
Sleep is a universal and fundamental process that is present in every animal species and occupies a third of our lives. Although sleep disorders and sleep deprivation have a major impact on public health and great societal costs, the function of sleep has remained largely a mystery. Recent studies have not only begun to explain why we sleep but have also shown that important information about normal as well as abnormal brain function can be revealed by the sleeping brain.

2016 - The Twenty-Second Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Exercise for the Brain: Is it Worth the Sweat?
Laura D. Baker, Ph.D.
Public Health Wake Forest School of Medicine
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 - 7:30 PM
Aerobic exercise has potent protective and restorative effects on multiple systems and processes that support the overall health of the body. The benefits of exercise on the brain, particularly for older adults with early changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), have become an important focus in science over the last 10 years. Aerobic exercise improves vascular function and benefits lipid profiles, protects against metabolic and cardiovascular disease, has favorable effects on inflammation, mitigates physiological and psychological stress responses, and improves mood. We and others have shown that regular aerobic exercise can improve cognition in adults who are at high risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s dementia. Given what we know so far, aerobic exercise ‘therapy’ to prevent or slow AD progression may be – worth the sweat.

2015 - The Twenty-First Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Aging and Disease in Modern Times
Randy Buckner, Ph.D.
Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital
Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 7:30 PM
Students graduating from college today can expect to live to 100 if they reach retirement age. How will we face the challenges and opportunities of aging now that so many will live into their ninth and tenth decades? Recent approaches to brain aging provide markers and understanding of the age-related changes that affect cognition and offer ways to explore treatments for the most devastating illnesses. But there is another challenge - the modern world is disconnected from that of our ancestors. Many of us live a relatively sedentary lifestyle and young adults growing up in the digital age have shifted sleep and social habits. How will these trends influence aging and disease in modern times?

2014 - The Twentieth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Zooming in on Alzheimer’s Disease and Normal Memory Decline
Scott A. Small, M.D.
Columbia University Medical Center, New York
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 7:30 PM
The hippocampus is a brain circuit that is targeted by Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders. It is assumed that clues into the caused of these disorders are encrypted within the circuit. Dr. Small will review how he and his colleagues have used MRI and other technologies to extract these clues. He will review how this insight is leading to new therapeutic interventions for Alzheimer’s disease and for normal age-related decline.

Understanding the molecular mechanisms of long-term memory processes and drug-seeking behavior
Marcelo Wood, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 7:30 PM
How are long-lasting memories made? How are unwanted memories extinguished? Why might you not remember this lecture? Where is the information from our experiences, environment, and even what we eat encoded? What does packaging 6 feet of DNA into a cell have to do with intellectual disability disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorder? New understanding from research in epigenetics sheds light on these questions and more.

2013 - The Nineteenth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

The Distracted Mind
Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
Our brains, despite remarkable capabilities, have distinct limitations. Dr. Gazzaley explores how our brains manage the river of data that constantly floods it, how its capacities can be exceeded, the consequences of this on our performance, and if a solution to the distracted mind is harnessed within our own brains.
This lecture is available on OpenCourseware

The treatment of human brain diseases: Insights from the study of Huntington's disease
Dr. Leslie M. Thompson
University of California, Irvine
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
Huntington’s disease is a devastating genetic neurodegenerative disease that typically strikes in the prime of life with symptoms ranging from changes in movement to dementia. Dr. Thompson will describe the disease and ways that scientists are researching treatments and applying these insights to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

2012 - The Eighteenth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Protecting the Brain from Impending Stroke: A Stimulating Account
Dr. Ron D. Frostig
University of California, Irvine
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 7:30 p.m.
Available options for immediate treatment of stroke victims are currently limited both in their applicability and effectiveness. In this talk, Dr. Frostig will describe surprising new research which demonstrates that simply administering a mild sensory stimulation to activate the endangered brain area triggers innate brain mechanisms that result in complete self-protection from an impending stroke. The exciting potential for clinical translation towards drug-free and equipment-free stroke treatments, along with advantages and limitations, will be discussed.

Researching Ways to Make Memories Last a Lifetime
Dr. Frank M. LaFerla
University of California, Irvine
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 7:30 p.m.
In the USA, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease every 69 seconds, and as of 2012 there are over 5.4 million Americans afflicted, including approximately 600,000 Californians.  Dr. LaFerla will discuss the latest advances in research and efforts to identify strategies to slow disease progression, including his own groundbreaking efforts to develop a stem cell based therapy.

2011 - The Seventeenth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Ending Alzheimer's Together
Eric M. Reiman, M.D.
Banner Alzheimer's Institute and Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Reiman will show how he and his colleagues have used brain imaging techniques to track Alzheimer’s disease decades before the onset of symptoms.  Also, he will describe their developing plan to find demonstrably effective Alzheimer’s prevention therapies as soon as possible.

Where Did I Put My Keys? Tales from the Hippocampus for Anyone Over 30
Dr. Craig E. L. Stark
University of California, Irvine
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 7:30 p.m.
Why is it that I can remember people I haven't seen for decades, but I can't remember where I left my keys? How much memory loss with age is normal? Dr. Stark will address these questions as he talks about how magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can give us a window to the brain and our memories.

Rewiring Our Adult Brains: Taking a Birds-Eye View
Dr. Gregory F. Ball
Johns Hopkins University
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 7:30 p.m.
Is your brain the same in the spring as it is in the fall?  If you're a songbird at least, the answer is no.  Birdsong is a learned vocalization that functions to attract a mate or repel competitors and that parallels human language in many ways.  Songbird species often breed in a highly seasonal manner that results in dramatic changes in brain and behavior.  Dr. Ball's research provides insight into how this seasonal remodeling of the brain operates and how these changes lead to seasonal changes in birdsong.

2010 - The Sixteenth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

The Scaffolded Mind: How Your Brain Adapts to Aging
Dr. Denise C. Park
Center for Brain Health, University of Texas, Dallas
Tuesday, February 2, 2010 - 7:30 p.m.
It is normal to experience subtle changes in memory and other cognitive functions with age. Accompanying these changes is a remarkable process of remodeling and reorganization of neural function that has been revealed through neuroimaging techniques. The brain is continuously responding to the aging process by building new neural circuits or “scaffolds.” Dr. Park will discuss her pioneering research on the changes that occur in the brain with age; the remarkable process of neural adaptation to these changes, and what is known about maintaining a healthy brain.

Helping the Brain to Repair Itself After Injury
Dr. Steven C. Cramer
Department of Neurology, University of California, Irvine
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 7:30 p.m.
Most patients show some degree of spontaneous recovery after a brain injury such as a stroke, although it is usually incomplete. Recent studies provide insight into the biological mechanisms responsible for this spontaneous recovery. Dr. Cramer, a leading researcher and physician in stroke recovery, will discuss these mechanisms and explore emerging therapies that aim to improve brain repair and thus reduce disability.

Music, Evolution, and the Human Mind
Dr. Aniruddh Patel

Senior Fellow in Theoretical Neurobiology, The Neuroscience Institute
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 7:30 p.m.
Music, like language, is a universal human accomplishment.  The recent explosion of research on music and the brain has brought new life to old questions, including ones first raised by Darwin. Why is music so pervasive in human life?  Are we musical today because music helped our ancestors survive?  Has the human mind been shaped by natural selection for music?  Dr. Patel will offer a new perspective on these questions from the standpoint of neuroscience.


2009 - The Fifteenth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety: Using Drugs to Improve Psychotherapy
Dr. Michael Davis
Emory University School of Medicine
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 - 7:30 p.m.
Anxiety disorders - which include conditions such as phobias, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder - are collectively the most common psychiatric disorder in the United States. Dr. Davis will discuss how the understanding of anxiety disorders has been increased by research into the brain systems responsible for acquiring, maintaining and overcoming fearful memories. He will also discuss how this research has led to the development of new directions for the treatment of anxiety disorders, in which psychotherapy is combined with a drug that improves the ability to overcome fearful memories.

The Power of Testing Memory: From the Laboratory to the Classroom
Dr. Henry L. Roediger III
Washington University, St. Louis
Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 7:30 p.m.
Tests in education are usually considered to measure knowledge (in the classroom) or abilities (standardized tests). Dr. Roediger's pioneering research shows that tests do much more than assess what has been learned, because they also change what we know and remember. Successful retrieval, induced by tests, serves as a powerful memory enhancer. Dr. Roediger will discuss laboratory research to make this point and experiments that extend the findings to classroom settings.

Genetic Jeopardy: Lessons Learned from Huntington's Disease
Dr. Nancy S. Wexler
Columbia University
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 7:30 p.m.
Huntington's disease is an inherited, neurodegenerative disorder that attacks movement, mood and mental functions, and is invariably fatal. This devastating disease is caused by an abnormality in a single gene. World-renowned scientist, Dr. Nancy Wexler, will describe the 10-year effort that culminated in the discovery of the gene, and the impact of this discovery on the understanding of Huntington's disease and potential treatments. She will also discuss the importance of this research for the understanding of other neurodegenerative and inherited diseases.


2008 - The Fourteenth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Back to the Future: Is Mental Time Travel Unique to Humans?
Professor Nicola S. Clayton
University of Cambridge
Wednesday, January 16, 2008 – 7:30 p.m.
As humans, we spend much of our time reminiscing about our past and planning for the future. In this lecture, Professor Clayton will discuss why this ability is an important part of our normal daily lives and whether it is unique to humans.  Surprisingly, some of the most convincing evidence comes not from our closest relatives, the apes, but from Professor Clayton’s innovative research on the memory abilities of a smart, large-brained bird, the western scrub-jay.

Generating New Brain Cells in the Adult Brain
Dr. Fred H. Gage
The Salk Institute
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 – 7:30 p.m. 
Until recently, dogma was that adults were incapable of growing new nerve cells.  However, recent research shows that small populations of immature nerve cells are indeed found in the adult brain, formed by a process called neurogenesis.  Dr Gage will discuss his pioneering studies to understand how these immature cells can be induced to become mature, functioning nerve cells, and how they may one day help repair aging and damaged brains and spinal cords.  

How to Get Old:  Lessons from 90-year-olds
Dr. Claudia Kawas
University of California, Irvine
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 – 7:30 p.m.
Over the past century, advances in public health and medical science extended life expectancy by more than 28 years.  People over age 90 are now the fastest growing segment of the population, although little is known about these pioneers of aging.  Dr. Kawas will discuss findings from The 90+ Study, one of the largest population-based studies of oldest-old in the world.  Based in Leisure World, Laguna Woods, she shares lifestyle and other lessons from individuals in their tenth decade and beyond.


2007 - The Thirteenth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Winning the Battle Against Alzheimer Disease: New Discoveries Offer New Hope
Dr. Frank M. LaFerla
UC Irvine
Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - 7:30 p.m.
Alzheimer disease is the most common brain disorder to afflict the elderly. At present, there are no effective treatments that slow or reverse the disease course. In this lecture, Dr. LaFerla will discuss the latest efforts by scientists to identify therapies for the disease, including his own breakthrough research on understanding the disease mechanism.

Little Brains with Bright Minds: Communication, Navigation and Learning in the Honeybee
Dr. Randolf Menzel
Free University of Berlin
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - 7:30 p.m.
Honeybees have tiny brains, but their behavioral repertoire is impressive. They navigate over miles using a geometric reference system of the environment, communicate by ritualized movement (the waggle dance), and learn the many features of their food sources. They also form life-long memories. Dr. Menzel, the world's leading expert on learning in the honeybee, will give us insight into how these little brains accomplish so much, and what this tells us about our own brains.

Schizophrenia: Losing Control over Thoughts, Memories and Emotions
Dr. Deanna Barch
Washington University, St. Louis
Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 7:30 p.m.
Schizophrenia is an extremely disabling mental illness that causes individuals to lose the normal connections between their thoughts, memories and emotions. Dr. Barch will discuss her innovative research on how the brain normally supports these quintessentially human functions, and the ways in which neurodevelopment problems alter the ability to control thoughts and emotions in individuals with schizophrenia.


2006 - The Twelfth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Autism: Cognitive style not deficit?
Dr. Francesca Happé

King's College London
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Autism is diagnosed by social-communicative impairments, but is characterized by striking skills that pose a puzzle to deficit theories. Why do people with autism so often have perfect pitch, remember exact information, and spot tiny details others miss? Dr. Happé's studies suggest that autism comprises a different, not deficient, cognitive style; a tendency to see parts, rather than wholes.

Watching the brain at work: Imaging the formation and retrieval of memories
Dr. Michael D. Rugg
University of California, Irvine
Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 7:30 p.m.
The past few years have seen extraordinary progress in methods for detecting and localizing brain activity in healthy, behaving humans. These new imaging methods can be used to study how memories are initially formed and how they are later retrieved. Dr. Rugg will describe brain networks that support these critical memory functions, how these networks change with age, and what this tells us about why memory becomes more fallible as we grow older.

The Monogamous Brain: What Can Science Tell Us About Love? 
Dr. Larry Young 
Emory University
Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - 7:30 p.m.
Why do some individuals form stable relationships while others just can't commit? Is love really an addiction? Studies of the neural mechanisms regulating pair bond formation in monogamous animals are providing clues to these questions. This lecture will discuss the interaction of genes, the brain, and memories in generating variability in social behavior.


2005 - The Eleventh Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

How Children Shape Languages: Language Acquisition and Emergence
Dr. Elissa L. Newport
University of Rochester
Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Young children are much better than adults at learning new languages. In this lecture, Dr. Newport will discuss her remarkable studies of young, emerging sign languages around the world and her studies of children learning languages in a laboratory setting, showing that children are a prime force in developing and expanding languages as they are in the process of being formed.

How Could Brain Science Transform our Lives in the 21st Century
Dr. Richard Morris
The University of Edinburgh
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Brain science has reached a level of maturity where our understanding of how the brain works is poised to have a growing impact on our lives. Drawing on examples from research on memory, Dr. Morris will illustrate where neuroscientists are today, where they think they are going, and how a balance of basic science and needs-driven research will impact education, the development of new medical treatments and brain-style computing.

Remembering Trauma 
Dr. Richard J. McNally
Harvard University
Tuesday, May 10, 2005 
Are traumatic experiences engraved on the mind, never to be forgotten? Or does the mind protect itself by banishing them from awareness? In this lecture, Dr. McNally will debunk myths about traumatic memory, and describe his own research on people who report having recovered memories of either abuse during childhood or abduction by space aliens.


2004 - The Tenth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

What Makes Humans Smart? Lessons from Children
Dr. Elizabeth S. Spelke
Harvard University
Tuesday, February 3, 2004
Although animals easily learn about biologically important events such as finding food and avoiding danger, only humans develop rich abstract knowledge in areas not tied to our biology, from learning how to cook to theorizing about the origins of the universe. Dr. Spelke's studies of how infants and children grasp numerical concepts suggest that human cognitive ability results from two basic features of our minds--a collection of "core" knowledge systems that we share with other animals, and a second more complex system, linked to human language, that is unique to us.

Sleep, Memory and Dreams: What are they good for?
Dr. Robert Stickgold
Harvard Medical School
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
We spend one-third of our lives in the mysterious state of sleeping and, perchance, dreaming. One of the critical functions of sleep is the "off-line" reprocessing of memories. Sleep researcher Stickgold will explain how this reprocessing can strengthen, integrate, and even analyze previously stored memories. The part that dreams play in all this remains uncertain, but new analyses of dream content provide clues into a phenomenon that is almost universally experienced but little understood.

Remembering Memory and the Brain:
Open Forum Discussion with Faculty Fellows of the CNLM

Dr. James L. McGaugh and Colleagues
University of California, Irvine
Tuesday, May 18, 2004 
To celebrate the tenth year of this acclaimed public lecture series, James L. McGaugh, the professor and researcher who has been called "Mr. Memory," returns to the Barclay stage by popular demand. He will share some of the major recent developments in brain and memory research and will then be joined by a panel of faculty fellows from UCI's world-renowned memory research institute for an extended open discussion of questions from the audience.


2003 - The Ninth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Opiates, Brownies, Sex and Cocaine: Seeking the Brain Signature for Desire
Dr. Anna Rose Childress
University of Pennsylvania
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
For most of human history, desires that profoundly motivate our behavior have been the focus of poets, philosophers and therapists...but they have been elusive targets for scientists. Dr. Childress will show us how recent advances in brain imaging allow us to "see" into the brain during our most intimate "desire states." Understanding how the brain expresses and modulates desire will aid the development of treatments for the learned disorders of desire: the addictions.

Ah yes, I remember it well...: Remembering, Forgetting and the Movie "Memento"
Dr. Stuart Zola
Emory University
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Think you remember accurately the details from that party or business meeting several weeks ago? Think again! Did the movie Memento accurately depict someone with memory impairment? We'll find out tonight! Dr. Zola is a leading expert in the neuroscience of memory and how it is organized in the brain. He will discuss recent insights gained from research about memory distortion, memory impairment, and maintaining successful memory function as we age.

How Time Flies: The Molecular Architecture of Memory
Dr. Thomas J. Carew
University of California, Irvine
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
More than a century of experimental research, as well as our own personal experience, tells us that memories can persist from seconds and minutes to a lifetime. Dr. Carew will discuss his intriguing and influential research using Aplysia, a sea animal from the California coast whose unique brain structure allows a close examination of the molecular machinery that creates memories, both fleeting and lasting.


2002 - The Eighth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Drug Addiction: Why the Brain Loses Control
Dr. Nora Volkow
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Wednesday, January 30, 2002
What has happened to the brain of a person who is unable to control the desire to take a drug despite a conscious effort to stop? Eminent psychiatrist and neurobiologist Nora Volkow uses state-of-the-art imaging technologies to probe inside the brains of addicted people. The brain images show dysfunction both in the biochemical circuits involved with reward and in the frontal regions involved with drive and motivation. Some of these changes are a consequence of chronic exposure to drugs, but others may antedate drug use and predispose the subjects to addiction.

Educating the Brain: Lessons from Brain Imaging
Dr. John Gabrieli
Stanford University
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Modern brain imaging technology allows us for the first time to visualize the changes in brain structure and function that underlie mental abilities such as memory, language and thought. Dr. Gabrieli's breakthrough studies using functional MRI reveal that different kinds of learning are associated with activation of different brain regions. He will explore with us how brain changes mark the growth of mental abilities--such as learning to read--in children.

The Magic of Memory: Peeking Behind the Brain's Curtain
Dr. James L. McGaugh
University of California, Irvine
Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Memory seems obvious, yet mystifying. What is memory? How does the brain create and preserve memories? Current research is providing answers to these ancient questions. Dr. McGaugh returns to the Barclay stage to share what researchers are learning about the cooperative and competitive interactions among the many brain systems that play a part in memory. The findings are pulling back the curtain of mystery and revealing the brain's secret systems that make and manage memory.


2001 - The Seventh Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Why Did Episodic Memory Evolve?
Dr. Endel Tulving
Rotman Research Institute
University of Toronto
January 31, 2001
There are many forms of memory, but episodic memory is the only one that allows us to remember our personal past experiences.  As far as is known, only human beings have episodic memory.  All other species appear to do perfectly well without it.  Dr. Tulving, one of the world's distinguished cognitive neuroscientists, will offer thoughts on why this unique form of memory evolved in humans.

Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think
Dr. Marc D. Hauser
Department of Psychology
Harvard University
March 27, 2001
Dr. Hauser's influential research aims at understanding how the minds of human and non-human animals evolved.  By studying monkeys and apes both in the wild and in captivity, as well as human infants, Hauser's work has unlocked some of the mysteries of what organisms without language think.  He is the acclaimed author of Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think and is widely recognized as one of the world's leading investigators of animal cognition.

Making Connections: Memory in the Brain  and Spinal Cord 
Dr. Oswald Steward
Reeve-Irvine Research Center
UC Irvine
May 23, 2001
The question of how function can be restored after brain or spinal cord injury is the subject of intense research and great public interest.  The key lies in understanding nerve cell "memory" -the vital connections that are formed during nervous system development and modified by experience.  Dr. Steward, who holds the Reeve-Irvine Chair in Spinal Cord Injury Research at UCI, is internationally recognized for his research on the cellular and molecular basis of nerve cell growth.


2000 - The Sixth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Is Alzheimer's Our Reward for Living Longer?
Dr. Dennis Selkoe 
Center for Neurologic Diseases
Harvard Medical School
Tues., February 22, 2000
Life expectancy rose dramatically in the recent century--from 49 to 77 years. But this increase in longevity has come with a price: More of us are now likely to suffer from age-related brain degeneration. Dr. Selkoe will discuss the dramatic progress being made in understanding the causes of Alzheimer's disease and the imminent testing of drugs that may prevent or slow its devastating effects. Co-sponsored by the UCI Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia

Critical Issues in Brain and Memory 
Dr. James L. McGaugh 
Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
University of California, Irvine
Tues., April 4, 2000
Following opening comments by Dr. McGaugh on the current understanding of memory and the important issues yet to be addressed, the floor will be opened to questions from the audience. Joining Dr. McGaugh in responding to these questions is a panel of faculty from the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

Memory without Remembering and Vision without Seeing
Dr. Larry Weiskrantz
Department of Experimental Psychology
Oxford University
Wed., May 24, 2000
People with brain damage may be unable to learn and remember explicit information, yet they can store new information at an implicit level. Others, considered blind, are able to discriminate visual events without knowing that they do. Dr. Weiskrantz will discuss how these subtle learning and perceptual phenomena offer clues to conscious awareness.


1999 - The Fifth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory 

The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse
Dr. Elizabeth Loftus 
Department of Psychology
University of Washington
February 2, 1999
The question of whether memories can be repressed in childhood and recovered later in life is one of the most hotly debated issues in jurisprudence and psychology. Dr. Loftus will discuss her twenty years of research on false memories and the scientific evidence she has brought into courtrooms as an expert witness. She is one of the country's most influential scientists in this ongoing societal and scientific controversy.

Learning Re-tunes the Brain: Discovering the Brain's Code for Experience
Dr. Norman M. Weinberger
Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and Department of
Neurobiology and Behavior (formerly Psychobiology)
University of California, Irvine
April 6, 1999
As we know, our brains store our memories. But there are no books or tape recorders in our heads. Thus, the way in which the brain encodes experience has been a great mystery. Dr. Weinberger's novel research provides a key to the solution of this problem by revealing how brain cells store the significance of life's events.

How the Mind Works
Dr. Steven Pinker
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Director, McDonnell-Pew Center
for Cognitive Neuroscience
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
May 11, 1999.
How can the brain function as an engineering masterpiece that allows us to see, reason and plan- yet also be responsible for the deep emotion and quirky behaviors that are a part of everyone's life? Dr. Pinker, an imaginative researcher and one of the foremost science writers of our time, will propose answers to the fascinating puzzle of the mind.


1998 - The Fourth Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Can Estrogen Keep You Smart?
Dr. Barbara B. Sherwin
Department of Psychology
McGill University, Montreal
January 28, 1998
Estrogen is known to have an important effect on areas of the brain responsible for memory. Dr. Sherwin's pioneering studies of young, middle-aged and elderly women show that estrogen helps maintain specific kinds of memory and suggest that this hormone may benefit older women's quality of life in unexpected ways.

Language, Brain and Mind: Early Experience Alters the Perception of Speech
Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl
Child Development Center
University of Washington
April 1, 1998
Language experience during the first year of life has a dramatic and lasting effect on infants' perception and production of speech. Dr. Kuhl will discuss her insightful research on infants from many cultures, showing how early language experience produces the unique way in which individuals understand and speak their "mother tongue."

The Aging Brain: Distinguishing Normal and Pathological Memory Loss
Dr. Jelle Jolles
Maastricht Brain and Behavior Institute, Netherlands
May 13, 1998
As we all suspect, memory function appears to decline with age. The rate at which this happens is determined by both health-related and psychosocial factors, including education. Dr. Jolles' research provides valuable new insights into our understanding of the cognitive problems of the elderly.


1997 - The Third Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Use It or Lose It: Brain Plasticity across the Lifespan
Dr. William T. Greenough
Beckman Institute
University of Illinois
February 3, 1997
Our brains continuously change in response to our experience. Dr. Greenough's pioneering research strongly supports the adage "use it or lose it." His studies of anatomical changes induced in the brain by experience underline the importance of being immersed in intellectually stimulating environments throughout life.

The Secret Life of an Aging Neuron: Successful Brain Aging vs. Alzheimer's Disease
Dr. Carl W. Cotman
Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia
University of California, Irvine
April 9, 1997
Dr. Cotman is internationally recognized for his studies revealing the basis of the brain degeneration found with aging. Attacks by oxidants and other damaging agents induce brain neurons to commit "cellular suicide." Despite such assault, our brains continually repair neurons and thus attempt to defend against such adversity. Learning the secrets of this restorative process holds the promise of improving the lives of the elderly, including Alzheimer's patients.

New Insights into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Dr. Roger K. Pitman
VA Research Service
Harvard University
May 21, 1997
A leading researcher of post-traumatic stress disorder, Dr. Pitman has studied the long-term consequences of stressful events experienced by combat veterans and civilian trauma victims, including sexually abused children. His findings provide new insights into emotion and memory and offer promise of new therapy for stress-induced disorders of memory.


1996 - The Second Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

Unlocking the Secrets of Memory
Dr. Larry R. Squire
Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences
University of California, San Diego
January 31, 1996
Dr. Squire's research on learning and memory in brain-injured humans and primates has provided important new insights into how the brain works. He is the world's leading scientist studying how the brain forms different kinds of memories -- the learning the names of friends to learning and new skill such as golf. This lecture will help us better understand the mysterious gray matter that makes up the most complex organ in the universe.

Childhood Memories: Here Today, Where Tomorrow?
Dr. Patricia J. Bauer
Institute of Child Development
University of Minnesota
March 13, 1996
Dr. Bauer's influential research on memory in infants and young children has revolutionized our thinking about children's memories. In an imaginative series of experiments, she has shown that very young children, and even infants, create long-lasting memories. These findings have important implications for parents and others who care for children.

Stress and the Brain: Good News and Bad News
Dr. Robert M. Sapolsky
Department of Biological Sciences
Stanford University
June 11, 1996
Dr. Sapolsky's pioneering research has revealed how the psychological challenges and chronic stress so common in our lives can damage brain function, disrupt memory and contribute to stress-related illnesses. He is the acclaimed author of "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers," and is widely recognized for his studies of the connections between emotion and physical well-being.


1995 - The Distinguished Lecture Series on Brain, Learning and Memory

The Fragile Power of Human Memory
Dr. Daniel Schachter
Harvard University
January 24, 1995
Dr. Daniel Schachter is one of the world's leading researchers in brain and memory, especially the study of amnesia. His lecture will explore the fragile power of memory by considering unconscious effects of past experiences, amnesia, evidence for different memory systems in the brain, traumatic memories and false memories.

Learning, Drug Anticipation and Drug Addiction
Dr. Shepard Siegal
McMaster University
March 28, 1995
Dr. Shepard Siegal has conducted pioneering investigations on how the environment in which drugs are taken can dramatically alter the effects of the drugs. This lecture will discuss the role of learning in drug addiction and how learned anticipation of receiving drugs contributes to drug tolerance, craving and withdrawal systems.

Making and Preserving Memories
Dr. James L. McGaugh
University of California, Irvine
May 10, 1995
Dr. James L. McGaugh, Founding Director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, is internationally recognized for his studies of drug and hormone influences on memory. This lecture will examine recent findings linking high levels of emotion and hormones with strong and lasting memories, and will consider the implications for understanding memory disorders.