Melina Uncapher, PhD

Title(s)Assistant Professor, Neurology
SchoolSchool of Medicine
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    Title(s)UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

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    Melina is an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Neurology, and leads the educational neuroscience efforts of the Cognitive Neuroscience division. Melina is a neuroscientist with 17 yrs of experience at the forefront of learning and memory research, with a focus on understanding how executive functioning/cognitive control affects learning and memory. More recently, she has turned her efforts to applying research to real-world problems. She leads research and outreach efforts in the fields of education, technology, and law.

    Education: Melina partners with educators throughout the country to design, implement, and assess education innovations that are grounded in the science of learning. She leads Project iLEAD, a multi-university NSF Science of Learning network, partnering with investigators at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCSF, UC San Diego, Rutgers, and UC Davis to investigate how executive function contributes to academic achievement in middle childhood. Project iLEAD generated a database of over 1,000 students (3rd through 8th grade) with ~80,000 tasks of executive function, math, reading, reasoning, and more, collected over two years (https://tinyurl.com/ProjectILEAD). On the outreach side, she co-founded and is CEO of a science-for-good nonprofit that arms educators and students with practices and tools based on the science of learning (scienceforgood.org).

    Technology: Melina investigates whether technology and media are associated with cognitive and neural differences, using functional neuroimaging and behavioral assessments of media use and cognitive function. On the outreach side, she co-chaired a global conference for the National Academy of Sciences on children and technology, and is a founding board member of the Institute of Digital Media and the Child Development.

    Law: Melina works to bridge the fields of neuroscience and law, also via research and outreach. As a MacArthur Scholar, she supported the foundation's efforts to use neuroscience to guide law policy and practice. Funded by the foundation, she led multi-year neuroimaging studies investigating memory issues that have relevance to legal policy and practice. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Science & Law, lectures regularly at law schools, and advises Bay Area law enforcement officials.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Development and Validation of Precision Learning Executive Function App
    Anonymous Donor P0531249Sep 1, 2018 - Aug 31, 2020
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Multi-modal Study of Cognitive and Neural Differences in Media Multitaskers
    NIH/NIMH R56MH111672Aug 11, 2017 - Jul 31, 2019
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    Science-based Innovation in Learning Center for ELL and LD
    University of California Office of the President MRP-17-454925 2014954Jan 1, 2017 - Dec 31, 2019
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Science of Learning in Adolescence: Integrating Developmental Studies in Animals and Humans
    NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION 00009277 – FAIN 1640885Sep 1, 2016 - Aug 31, 2019
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    Contributions of Executive Function Subdomains to Math and Reading Cognition in the Classroom
    NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION 1540854Sep 15, 2015 - Aug 31, 2018
    Role: Lead Principal Investigator
    Perceptual Binding and Episodic Memory
    NIH/NIMH F32MH084475Sep 1, 2008 - Aug 31, 2011
    Role: Principal Investigator

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    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Uncapher, Melina R.Design Considerations for Conducting Large-Scale Learning Research Using Innovative Technologies in Schools. Mind, Brain, and Education. 2018.
    2. Uncapher MR, Wagner AD. Minds and brains of media multitaskers: Current findings and future directions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 10 02; 115(40):9889-9896. PMID: 30275312.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Brown TI, Rissman J, Chow TE, Uncapher MR, Wagner AD. Differential Medial Temporal Lobe and Parietal Cortical Contributions to Real-world Autobiographical Episodic and Autobiographical Semantic Memory. Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 18; 8(1):6190. PMID: 29670138.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Uncapher, Melina R.From the science of learning (and development) to learning engineering. Applied Developmental Science. 2018.
    5. Uncapher MR, Lin L, Rosen LD, Kirkorian HL, Baron NS, Bailey K, Cantor J, Strayer DL, Parsons TD, Wagner AD. Media Multitasking and Cognitive, Psychological, Neural, and Learning Differences. Pediatrics. 2017 Nov; 140(Suppl 2):S62-S66. PMID: 29093034.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Brown TI, Uncapher MR, Chow TE, Eberhardt JL, Wagner AD. Cognitive control, attention, and the other race effect in memory. PLoS One. 2017; 12(3):e0173579. PMID: 28282414.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Uncapher MR, K Thieu M, Wagner AD. Media multitasking and memory: Differences in working memory and long-term memory. Psychon Bull Rev. 2016 Apr; 23(2):483-90. PMID: 26223469; PMCID: PMC4733435 [Available on 04/01/17].
    8. Gonzalez A, Hutchinson JB, Uncapher MR, Chen J, LaRocque KF, Foster BL, Rangarajan V, Parvizi J, Wagner AD. Electrocorticography reveals the temporal dynamics of posterior parietal cortical activity during recognition memory decisions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 01; 112(35):11066-71. PMID: 26283375; PMCID: PMC4568245.
    9. Uncapher MR, Boyd-Meredith JT, Chow TE, Rissman J, Wagner AD. Goal-Directed Modulation of Neural Memory Patterns: Implications for fMRI-Based Memory Detection. J Neurosci. 2015 Jun 03; 35(22):8531-45. PMID: 26041920.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Hutchinson JB, Uncapher MR, Wagner AD. Increased functional connectivity between dorsal posterior parietal and ventral occipitotemporal cortex during uncertain memory decisions. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2015 Jan; 117:71-83. PMID: 24825621; PMCID: PMC4226743.
    11. Hutchinson JB, Uncapher MR, Weiner KS, Bressler DW, Silver MA, Preston AR, Wagner AD. Functional heterogeneity in posterior parietal cortex across attention and episodic memory retrieval. Cereb Cortex. 2014 Jan; 24(1):49-66. PMID: 23019246; PMCID: PMC3862264.
    12. Uncapher MR, Hutchinson JB, Wagner AD. Dissociable effects of top-down and bottom-up attention during episodic encoding. J Neurosci. 2011 Aug 31; 31(35):12613-28. PMID: 21880922; PMCID: PMC3172893.
    13. Uncapher MR, Hutchinson JB, Wagner AD. A roadmap to brain mapping: toward a functional map of human parietal cortex. Neuron. 2010 Jul 15; 67(1):5-8. PMID: 20624586.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Gottlieb LJ, Uncapher MR, Rugg MD. Dissociation of the neural correlates of visual and auditory contextual encoding. Neuropsychologia. 2010 Jan; 48(1):137-44. PMID: 19720071; PMCID: PMC2795095.
    15. Uncapher MR, Rugg MD. Selecting for memory? The influence of selective attention on the mnemonic binding of contextual information. J Neurosci. 2009 Jun 24; 29(25):8270-9. PMID: 19553466; PMCID: PMC2730727.
    16. Hutchinson JB, Uncapher MR, Wagner AD. Posterior parietal cortex and episodic retrieval: convergent and divergent effects of attention and memory. Learn Mem. 2009 Jun; 16(6):343-56. PMID: 19470649; PMCID: PMC2704099.
    17. Uncapher MR, Wagner AD. Posterior parietal cortex and episodic encoding: insights from fMRI subsequent memory effects and dual-attention theory. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2009 Feb; 91(2):139-54. PMID: 19028591.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Park H, Uncapher MR, Rugg MD. Effects of study task on the neural correlates of source encoding. Learn Mem. 2008 Jun; 15(6):417-25. PMID: 18511693.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Uncapher MR, Rugg MD. Fractionation of the component processes underlying successful episodic encoding: a combined fMRI and divided-attention study. J Cogn Neurosci. 2008 Feb; 20(2):240-54. PMID: 18275332.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Rugg MD, Johnson JD, Park H, Uncapher MR. Encoding-retrieval overlap in human episodic memory: a functional neuroimaging perspective. Prog Brain Res. 2008; 169:339-52. PMID: 18394485.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Uncapher MR, Otten LJ, Rugg MD. Episodic encoding is more than the sum of its parts: an fMRI investigation of multifeatural contextual encoding. Neuron. 2006 Nov 09; 52(3):547-56. PMID: 17088219; PMCID: PMC1687210.
    22. Woodruff CC, Uncapher MR, Rugg MD. Neural correlates of differential retrieval orientation: Sustained and item-related components. Neuropsychologia. 2006; 44(14):3000-10. PMID: 16930636.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Uncapher MR, Rugg MD. Effects of divided attention on fMRI correlates of memory encoding. J Cogn Neurosci. 2005 Dec; 17(12):1923-35. PMID: 16356329.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Uncapher MR, Rugg MD. Encoding and the durability of episodic memory: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. J Neurosci. 2005 Aug 03; 25(31):7260-7. PMID: 16079408.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Woodruff CC, Johnson JD, Uncapher MR, Rugg MD. Content-specificity of the neural correlates of recollection. Neuropsychologia. 2005; 43(7):1022-32. PMID: 15769488.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Cahill L, Uncapher M, Kilpatrick L, Alkire MT, Turner J. Sex-related hemispheric lateralization of amygdala function in emotionally influenced memory: an FMRI investigation. Learn Mem. 2004 May-Jun; 11(3):261-6. PMID: 15169855; PMCID: PMC419728.
    27. Haier RJ, Alkire MT, White NS, Uncapher MR, Head E, Lott IT, Cotman CW. Temporal cortex hypermetabolism in Down syndrome prior to the onset of dementia. Neurology. 2003 Dec 23; 61(12):1673-9. PMID: 14694028.
      View in: PubMed