Memory is the bridge to our past and our future

History of the Center

Understanding the biological basis of learning and memory has been the mission of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (CNLM) since its founding at UC Irvine in 1981. The CNLM was, in fact, the first research institute in the world dedicated exclusively to the multidisciplinary study of the basic brain mechanisms that allow us to acquire, retain and use information. It was officially sanctioned as an Organized Research Unit (ORU) of the University of California by the Regents in 1983. As with all ORUs at UCI, the CNLM is organizationally a part of the Office of Research.

The CNLM was founded by faculty at Irvine including James L. McGaugh and Norman M. Weinberger. The thirty-nine current Fellows include faculty from several departments at UCI--Neurobiology and Behavior, Neurology, Cognitive Sciences, Pharmacology, Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Psychology and Social Behavior and Anatomy and Neurobiology--as well as from UC San Diego, UCLA, University of Southern California, Scripps Research Institute and Caltech. These faculty neuroscientists, together with professional and postgraduate researchers, graduate and undergraduate students and visiting scientists from all over the world, form the research teams of the CNLM.

Center researchers have backgrounds and credentials in a variety of research disciplines (psychology, chemistry, anatomy, pharmacology, molecular biology for example) that influence their approaches to the study of learning and memory. Using state-of-the-art neuroscience techniques, they investigate the formation, maintenance and retrieval of memory at several levels of analysis, from studies of molecular and cellular processes in the brain to studies of memory in animal and human subjects.

In its twenty-five plus year history, the CNLM has educated a very large number of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, as well as many hundreds of undergraduates. Their research education prepares them to make their own contributions to this field of knowledge and to teach future generations of scientists. Former graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the CNLM hold positions of leadership in neuroscience in many parts of the world. If you would like information on joining the laboratory of a CNLM member, check the website of the particular faculty member, as well as the website for his/her home department.

Descriptions of the research programs of the individual CNLM faculty are available under Faculty.