Alcino Silva

Learning and Memory is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Alcino Silva, Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology, Psychiatry and Psychology at the David Geffen School of Medicine and Director of the Integrated Center for Learning and Memory at UCLA. 

Alcino Silva runs a learning and memory lab at UCLA that is focused on a vast number of topics, from schizophrenia and autism to learning and memory. This fascinating conversation explores how he and his colleagues focus on understanding the specific molecular mechanisms of neurobiology with the goal of being able to intervene and repair these mechanisms when they go awry. Further topics include plasticity of the brain, implanting memories, how cognitive deficits associated with developmental disorders can be reversed, the importance of “research maps” for the field and inspired optimism for the future.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Dom Alcino and the Age of Discoveries, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

  1. Planting Seeds – Laying the groundwork for future discoveries
  2. E Pluribus Unum – Exploring cross-species similarities
  3. Putting the Pieces Together – The sociology of neuroscience and running a lab
  4. A Leg to Stand On – Understanding changing synaptic weights
  5. Justified Confidence – How to know that you know something
  6. Smart Mice – Objectively evaluating learning and memory
  7. Manipulating Memories – Turning them off and on
  8. Individual Differences – Searching for principles in a diverse world
  9. Treating Cognitive Disorders – Towards reversing cognitive deficits 
  10. Justified Optimism – Making a difference, today and tomorrow
  11. Managing Discovery – Harnessing opportunities in an open and mature way

Now available in electronic format on:


Learning and Memory is also available as part of the 5-part Ideas Roadshow Collection called Conversations About Biology in paperback and electronic format.

Read more

We’ve produced two videos of our extensive conversation with Alcino Silva which are available on Vimeo On Demand: Learning and Memory, Part I and Learning and Memory, Part II.