New Academic Initiatives

Dear colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that UCI will have two new Academic Initiatives starting July 1:

  • UCI Brain Initiative
  • UCI STEAM Education Research Initiative

The UCI Brain Initiative will be led by Michael Yassa, professor of neurobiology & behavior and director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory. The mysteries of the brain have been described as the “final frontier,” and this initiative will advance our understanding of neuroscience through collaborative research and help develop the next generation of brain scientists. Specifically, the initiative will establish a multi-school graduate neuroscience program and unite researchers across the campus via a comprehensive website that showcases affiliated faculty and research projects.

The UCI STEAM Education Research Initiative will be led by Brian Sato, associate teaching professor of molecular biology & biochemistry. In recent years, many institutions, including UCI, have faced a series of challenges related to their teaching mission, including rising undergraduate and transfer student enrollments; a disparate level of success in STEAM programs for at-risk students in an increasingly diverse student population; and a lack of enrollment growth among graduate students, who contribute to both the research and teaching missions of a campus. This initiative will support interdisciplinary STEAM education research, create new graduate programs, facilitate research partnerships with two-year colleges to better understand the needs of transfer students, and foster engagement with the larger STEAM education community in Southern California and nationally.

These proposals underwent a thorough review process that produced a high level of support from reviewers. Both are well-aligned with the purpose of the Academic Initiatives program: to advance multidisciplinary research and collaboration across the campus.

We encourage you to get involved in these interschool initiatives.


Enrique J. Lavernia, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Distinguished Professor,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Judith Stepan-Norris
Vice Provost
Office of Academic Planning