Posts classified under: Integrative Center for Learning and Memory

Ausaf Bari, MA, M.D., Ph.D., FAANS

Dr. Bari specializes in the neurosurgical repair and restoration of brain and nerve function. Following his neurosurgery residency training at UCLA, Dr. Bari was awarded the prestigious William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship to train at the world-renowned functional neurosurgery program at the University of Toronto. He has extensive clinical and research experience in the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the treatment of both movement and psychiatric disorders. Dr. Bari’s clinical practice includes DBS surgery for Parkinson’s disease, tremor, dystonia, depression and OCD. In addition, his clinical practice includes neurosurgery for brain tumors, pain, and peripheral nerve disorders.

Dr. Bari’s research focuses on an interdisciplinary approach to studying the neurobiology underlying movement and psychiatric disorders and expanding the frontiers of neurosurgery to treat those disorders. As a part of his fellowship training, Dr. Bari studied the relationship between the motor and reward systems of the brain and the use of deep brain stimulation to modify and enhance them. A native of California, Dr. Bari completed his neurosurgery residency training at UCLA after receiving his MD and PhD degrees from Boston University. He completed his undergraduate training at UC Berkeley in the field of neurobiology.

David Clewett, Ph.D.

Research and Teaching Interests:

In everyday life, we encounter a continuous stream of information. Yet, because our mental resources are limited, we cannot process and remember everything we experience. This raises two critical questions: How do we prioritize and store important information in memory? How do unfolding experiences become organized into memories of meaningful events? My research examines the brain mechanisms that support these adaptive memory processes.

A key theoretical construct motivating my work is that physiological arousal plays a fundamental role in facilitating attention and memory. Decades of research show that people perceive and remember emotionally arousing events better than more mundane events. For example, experiencing a car crash or celebrating a birthday tend to be more memorable than a routine commute to work. Beyond simply enhancing processing of the emotional information, however, a surge in arousal can also spillover to enhance or impair processing of nearby neutral information. Spikes in arousal are also happening all the time and not just in response to emotional events. Consequently, even as everyday experiences unfold, arousal states may play a lead role in determining whether an event will be forgotten or etched into memory more permanently.

My research seeks to understand how arousal responses – particularly those elicited by emotional, stressful or motivating (rewarding/threatening) situations – influence: (1) what we remember: the information we selectively attend to and remember later on; (2) how we remember: the way in which memories become organized and updated over time; and (3) when we remember: certain neurochemical and brain states, such as elevated norepinephrine and dopamine release, that are induced before, during or after an event. To study these topics, my lab takes a multi-modal approach that includes functional and structural neuroimaging (fMRI/MRI/DTI), neurophysiology (eye tracking and hormone assays), pharmacology, and behavioral methods.


David Clewett will join UCLA as an Assistant Professor of Psychology in July 2020. He received his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Southern California in 2016, where he worked with Dr. Mara Mather to study emotion-cognition interactions. He then conducted a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Lila Davachi at NYU and Columbia University, where he studied how episodic memories are constructed from continuous experience. Before attending graduate school, he received a B.S. degree in Biopsychology with a minor in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.


  • Clewett, D.* & Murty, V.* (in press). Echoes of emotions past: How neuromodulators determine what we recollect. ENeuro. *authors contributed equally
  • Clewett, D., Dubrow, S., & Davachi, L. (2019). Transcending time in the brain: How event memories emerge from experience. Hippocampus, 29(3), 162-183.
  • Clewett, D., Huang, R., Velasco, R., Lee, T.H., & Mather, M. (2018). Locus coeruleus activity strengthens prioritized memories under arousal. Journal of Neuroscience, 38(6), 1558-1574.
  • Clewett, D., & Davachi, L. (2017). The ebb and flow of experience determines the temporal structure of memory. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 17, 186-193.
  • Clewett, D., Sakaki, M., Huang, R., Nielsen, S., & Mather, M. (2017). Arousal amplifies biased competition between high and low priority memories more in women than in men: the role of elevated noradrenergic activity. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 80, 80-91.
  • Clewett, D., Sakaki, M., Nielsen, S., Petzinger, G., & Mather, M. (2017). Noradrenergic mechanisms of arousal’s bidirectional effects on episodic memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory137, 1-14.
  • Mather, M., Clewett, D., Sakaki, M., & Harley, C. (2015). Norepinephrine ignites local hot spots of neuronal excitation: How arousal amplifies selectivity in perception and memory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1-100.

Carrie Bearden, Ph.D.


Dr. Carrie Bearden received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and joined the UCLA faculty as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA in 2003. She hold a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychology. She has received numerous awards and honors, including Young Investigator Awards from the International Congress for Schizophrenia Research and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD), and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), the A.E. Bennett Neuropsychiatric Research Award for Clinical Science in Biological Psychiatry, and the Samuel Gershon Junior Investigator Award from the International Society for Bipolar Disorders. Dr. Bearden’s research aims to understand genetic influences on brain structure in the development of psychosis, using converging methods to study cognition and neuroanatomy in clinical high-risk samples (e.g., adolescents at clinical high-risk for psychosis), and in possible ‘genetic subtypes of the disease with very high penetrance (e.g, 22q11.2 microdeletions). Another active research project, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Nelson Freimer, is an NIMH-funded study of neural endophenotypes of bipolar disorder in a genetically isolated population in Latin America.

Michele Basso, Ph.D.


Dr. Michele A. Basso is a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Neurobiology. She studied Neuroscience at Stony Brook University in NY and was a post-doctoral fellow at the National Eye Institute, NIH. After serving as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin Madison, she moved to UCLA to join the faculty and direct the Fuster Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience. The work performed in her laboratory is aimed at unravelling the neuronal circuits of decision-making in health and disease. Her work spans multiple species and employs multiple technologies designed to understand how memory and sensory information are combined to give rise to our decisions.


A selected list of publications:

Perugini Alessandra, Basso Michele A   Perceptual decisions based on previously learned information are independent of dopaminergic tone Journal of neurophysiology, 2018; 119(3): 849-861.
Odegaard Brian, Grimaldi Piercesare, Cho Seong Hah, Peters Megan A K, Lau Hakwan, Basso Michele A   Superior colliculus neuronal ensemble activity signals optimal rather than subjective confidence Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2018; 115(7): E1588-E1597.
Crapse Trinity B, Lau Hakwan, Basso Michele A   A Role for the Superior Colliculus in Decision Criteria Neuron, 2018; 97(1): 181-194.e6.
May Paul J, Basso Michele A   Connections between the zona incerta and superior colliculus in the monkey and squirrel Brain structure & function, 2018; 223(1): 371-390.
Basso Michele A, May Paul J   Circuits for Action and Cognition: A View from the Superior Colliculus Annual review of vision science, 2017; 3(1): 197-226.
Ghitani Nima, Bayguinov Peter O, Basso Michele A, Jackson Meyer B   A sodium afterdepolarization in rat superior colliculus neurons and its contribution to population activity Journal of neurophysiology, 2016; 116(1): 191-200.
Perugini Alessandra, Ditterich Jochen, Basso Michele A   Patients with Parkinson’s Disease Show Impaired Use of Priors in Conditions of Sensory Uncertainty Current biology : CB, 2016; 26(14): 1902-10.
Basso Michele A   Monkey neurophysiology to clinical neuroscience and back again Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2016; 113(24): 6591-3.
Crapse Trinity B, Basso Michele A   Insights into decision making using choice probability Journal of neurophysiology, 2015; 114(6): 3039-49.
Grimaldi Piercesare, Lau Hakwan, Basso Michele A   There are things that we know that we know, and there are things that we do not know we do not know: Confidence in decision-making Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 2015; 55: 88-97.
Bayguinov Peter O, Ghitani Nima, Jackson Meyer B, Basso Michele A   A hard-wired priority map in the superior colliculus shaped by asymmetric inhibitory circuitry Journal of neurophysiology, 2015; 114(1): 662-76.
Vokoun Corinne R, Huang Xin, Jackson Meyer B, Basso Michele A   Response normalization in the superficial layers of the superior colliculus as a possible mechanism for saccadic averaging The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2014; 34(23): 7976-87.
Ghitani Nima, Bayguinov Peter O, Vokoun Corinne R, McMahon Shane, Jackson Meyer B, Basso Michele A   Excitatory synaptic feedback from the motor layer to the sensory layers of the superior colliculus The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2014; 34(20): 6822-33.
Mahamed Safraaz, Garrison Tiffany J, Shires Joel, Basso Michele A   Stimulation of the Substantia Nigra Influences the Specification of Memory-Guided Saccades Journal of neurophysiology, 2013; 39(1): .
Powers Alice S, Basso Michele A, Evinger Craig   Blinks slow memory-guided saccades Journal of neurophysiology, 2013; 109(3): 734-41.
Vokoun Corinne R, Jackson Meyer B, Basso Michele A   Circuit dynamics of the superior colliculus revealed by in vitro voltage imaging Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2011; 1233(2): 41-7.
Li Xiaobing, Basso Michele A   Cues to move increased information in superior colliculus tuning curves Journal of neurophysiology, 2011; 106(2): 690-703.
Shires Joel, Joshi Siddhartha, Basso Michele A   Shedding new light on the role of the basal ganglia-superior colliculus pathway in eye movements Current opinion in neurobiology, 2010; 20(6): 717-25.
Vokoun Corinne R, Jackson Meyer B, Basso Michele A   Intralaminar and interlaminar activity within the rodent superior colliculus visualized with voltage imaging The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2010; 30(32): 10667-82.
Kim Byounghoon, Basso Michele A   A probabilistic strategy for understanding action selection The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2010; 30(6): 2340-55.
Gooding Diane C, Basso Michele A   The tell-tale tasks: a review of saccadic research in psychiatric patient populations Brain and cognition, 2008; 68(3): 371-90.
Liu Ping, Basso Michele A   Substantia nigra stimulation influences monkey superior colliculus neuronal activity bilaterally Journal of neurophysiology, 2008; 100(2): 1098-112.
Basso Michele A   Electrical stimulation of nervous system tissue. Introduction Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 2008; 32(3): 331.
Li Xiaobing, Basso Michele A   Preparing to move increases the sensitivity of superior colliculus neurons The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2008; 28(17): 4561-77.
Kim Byounghoon, Basso Michele A   Saccade target selection in the superior colliculus: a signal detection theory approach The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2008; 28(12): 2991-3007.
Utter Amy A, Basso Michele A   The basal ganglia: an overview of circuits and function Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 2008; 32(3): 333-42.
Basso Michele A, Liu Ping   Context-dependent effects of substantia nigra stimulation on eye movements Journal of neurophysiology, 2007; 97(6): 4129-42.
Smith Joshua J, Hadzic Vezira, Li Xiaobing, Liu Ping, Day Tiffany, Utter Amy, Kim Byounghoon, Washington Ida M, Basso Michele A   Objective measures of health and well-being in laboratory rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) Journal of medical primatology, 2006; 35(6): 388-96.
Li Xiaobing, Kim Byounghoon, Basso Michele A   Transient pauses in delay-period activity of superior colliculus neurons Journal of neurophysiology, 2006; 95(4): 2252-64.
Li Xiaobing, Basso Michele A   Competitive stimulus interactions within single response fields of superior colliculus neurons The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2005; 25(49): 11357-73.
Basso Michele A, Pokorny Jennifer J, Liu Ping   Activity of substantia nigra pars reticulata neurons during smooth pursuit eye movements in monkeys The European journal of neuroscience, 2005; 22(2): 448-64.
Basso Michele A, Uhlrich Daniel, Bickford Martha E   Cortical function: a view from the thalamus Neuron, 2005; 45(4): 485-8.
Williamson Shawn S, Zivotofsky Ari Z, Basso Michele A   Modulation of gaze-evoked blinks depends primarily on extraretinal factors Journal of neurophysiology, 2005; 93(1): 627-32.
Basso Michele A, Wurtz Robert H   Neuronal activity in substantia nigra pars reticulata during target selection The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2002; 22(5): 1883-94.
1 2 3 8