George Lucas Educational Foundation

Melina Uncapher

Neuroscientist, Executive Director of

Dr. Melina Uncapher is an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Neurology at UCSF, leading the educational neuroscience efforts of the Cognitive Neuroscience division in the department. Melina is a neuroscientist with 14 yrs of experience at the forefront of learning and memory research, with a focus on understanding how attention affects learning. More recently, she has turned her efforts to applying research to solving real-world problems. She leads research and outreach efforts in the fields of education and technology. Education: Melina teaches a Science of Learning teacher training course and partners with educators throughout the country to design, implement, and assess education innovations that are grounded in the science of learning. She leads a multi-university Science of Learning research network funded by NSF, with investigators at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCSF, to investigate how executive function contributes to academic achievement. On the outreach side, she co-founded and is Executive Director of the Institute for Applied Neuroscience, a science-for-good nonprofit that arms educators and students with practical tools based on the science of learning ( Technology: Melina investigates whether technology and media use are associated with cognitive and neural differences, using functional neuroimaging methodologies. On the outreach side, she is a founding board member of the Institute of Digital Media and the Child Development, and organized and co-chaired a global conference on children and technology with the National Academy of Sciences and the IDMCD.

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  • Learning Environments

    The Science of Effective Learning Spaces

    A neuroscientist explains how factors such as light and seating arrangements can affect students’ cognitive performance.
  • Game-Based Learning

    Action Video Gameplay: Benefits and Dangers

    While evidence suggests that action video games enhance higher-order brain functions, the violence built into most commercial titles is far from beneficial.