Launch your future in neuroscience

The Irvine Summer Institute in Neuroscience Program


June 19 - August 12, 2022
University of California, Irvine

Applications for the 2022 summer program are now OPEN
Application Deadline has been extended to November 1st at 5PM PDT

Summer 2021 was a blast! Click here to read more!

Interested in learning more?

Applications for the summer 2022 program are now open. Register today for the Information Session!


The UC Irvine Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (CNLM) welcomes you to the Irvine Interdisciplinary Internship in Neuroscience Program. This program will run from June 19, 2022 - August 12, 2022 at the University of California, Irvine campus. 

The Irvine Interdisciplinary Internship in Neuroscience program will provide an intensive research training and professional development experience for undergraduates interested in interdisciplinary neuroscience research. The program is open to undergraduates of all backgrounds with a particular emphasis on women and individuals from under-represented backgrounds in STEM disciplines. The research focus is to understand the neurobiological mechanisms of learning and memory in healthy normal development as well as the biology of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders that alter learning and memory.

Program benefits include:

  • $6760 per participant which includes stipend and meals.
  • Housing costs covered.
  • Work with world-renowned faculty and brilliant, dedicated students.
  • Present your research at the spring CNLM Annual Conference
  • Advance your skills through workshops on scientific communications, graduate school, research, and more

Questions? Please contact Co-Director and Program Manager Manuella Oliveira Yassa at manuella.yassa@uci.edu

Find out more about UC Irvine


Meet the Directors

Participants in the Irvine Interdisciplinary Internship in Neuroscience program are supported by a team of faculty, staff and trainees who work together to ensure the success of the program.

Luis Colon-Perez

I am a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior focused on gaining insights about the effects of substance use disorders in cognition, specifically cognitive control behaviors. I have been involved in REUs (undergraduate student participant, graduate student assistant, and post-doc research mentor) through my academic and professional development. Now I have the opportunity to lead this REU, coming full circle in my involvement with REUs. I believe these programs, and definitely, this one at UCI, help you grow as scientists and professionals and provide a life-long experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life. All my experiences, from participant to mentor, guided me to help provide you with an experience such that at the end of the 8 weeks, you will feel excited and confident about your future as a scientist. Looking forward to welcoming you and your peers this summer to sunny southern California.

Manuella Oliveira Yassa

I direct the Outreach and Education programs of the UCI Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory which includes training programs for graduate and undergraduate students as well as community engagement programs for adults and children in Southern California. My research interests focus on the impact of university-community partnerships on STEM informal education with the objective of understanding how we can increase the diversity and inclusivity of the STEM workforce. 

Dr. Colon-Perez and I have planned an enriching, stimulating and fun program and are excited to launch it this summer! Please reach out if you have any questions regarding the program or the application (Manuella.Yassa@uci.edu).

Snapshot of Potential Research Projects

Below are a few faculty mentors and descriptions of potential projects in which participants in the Irvine Interdisciplinary Internship in Neuroscience program will have the opportunity to work.

Project 1: Luis Colon-Perez

(PI): The research objective of Dr. Colon-Perez’s lab is to understand how pharmacological agents alter cognition, and brain connectivity. Particular interest is focused on how abuse of rewarding substances leads to pathological learning, inducing harmful behaviors and impairments in cognitive control.

Project 2: Michael Yassa

(Director, CNLM): The Yassa Lab is interested in understanding how brains can store and retrieve massive amounts of information and in using this knowledge to improve the human condition. They use cutting-edge human neuroscience tools to understand learning and memory in healthy and diseased brains.

Project 3: Sunil Gandhi

(Associate Director, CNLM): Dr. Gandhi's lab explores the transplantation of embryonic inhibitory neurons which presents a promising avenue for cell-based brain repair and restores juvenile plasticity to the circuits of the adult visual cortex. 

Project 4: Susanne Jaeggi

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): Dr. Jaeggi’s Working Memory & Plasticity Lab investigates individual differences in higher cognitive functions as well as their malleability across the lifespan. The lab develops innovative measures that allow for assessment and capture of changes that emerge a function of development and interventions and describe relationships between cognitive functions.

Project 5: Diane O'Dowd

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): For the past 30 years Dr. O'Dowd's research lab at UCI has used molecular genetic manipulations and whole-cell electrophysiology to investigate the role of specific genes in regulating functional plasticity of developing and mature neural circuits.

Project 6: Sara Mednick

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): Dr. Mednick's lab is investigating translational approaches to prevention and treatment of conditions that impact memory in clinical and at-risk populations (e.g., older adults, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease).

Project 7: Steve Mahler

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): Adolescent cannabis use is associated with increased psychiatric risk of disorders like drug addiction and schizophrenia, leading to deficits in learning and memory, yet it is still unclear whether cannabis use causes psychiatric risk, or instead results from it. 

Project 8: Christine Gall

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): Results of previous studies have found that the mechanisms that underlie a form of synaptic plasticity thought to encode memory (termed long-term potentiation, or LTP) differs between male and female rodents.

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Project 9: Autumn Ivy

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): Dr. Ivy’s research program focuses on understanding how early-life exercise engages epigenetic mechanisms in neurons of the hippocampus to improve memory function. They use mouse models to focus on the effects of aerobic physical activity on learning and memory during childhood/adolescent brain development, as well as in adulthood and aging.

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Project 10: Shahrdad Lotfipour

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): Research objectives of the laboratory are to understand the mechanisms mediating substance use addictive disorders. Particular interest is in understanding how gut, brain, and behavior interact with the environment (i.e., drug exposure) to influence addiction.

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Project 11: Susana Cohen-Cory

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): Endocannabinoids are essential neuromodulators of multiple central neurotransmitter systems in the adult brain, but less is known about their function in the developing brain.

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Project 12: Elizabeth Chrastil

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): The Chrastil lab research interest is in spatial navigation and how it relates to learning and memory processes in humans. The lab uses fully immersive virtual reality and fMRI imaging to develop navigation paradigms that test fundamental questions about how we learn and remember locations in new environments. 

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Project 13: Christie Fowler

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): Nicotine dependence represents one of the most significant preventable causes of disease and death worldwide. Dr. Christie Fowler's lab seeks to identify and define the function of novel signaling factors involved in nicotine dependence. Specifically, we are investigating the functional significance of proteins and RNA transcripts localized in extracellular vesicles, or exosomes, which are found circulating in biofluids of the brain and body.

Headshot of Arielle Tambini

Project 14: Arielle Tambini

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): The Tambini lab studies memory consolidation, focusing on systems-level mechanisms that occur after learning to promote long-term human memory retention.

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Project 15: Mimi Liljeholm

(Faculty Fellow, CNLM): The Liljeholm lab addresses how humans discover and represent the predictive structure of their environment, how such knowledge shapes cognition, perception and behavior.