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Frank M. LaFerla, Ph.D.

Hana and Francisco J. Ayala Dean


Frank M. LaFerla is the Hana and Francisco J. Ayala Dean of the Ayala School of Biological Sciences. Professor LaFerla, Chancellor’s Professor and former chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior since 2011, joined UCI in 1995 as an assistant professor in the then-named department of psychobiology. Dean LaFerla is also the director of the NIH funded Alzheimer’s Disease Center, only one of 27 in the country. During his time at UCI, he has served in numerous leadership roles, including as Associate Director and Director of UCI MIND (Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders), a research center internationally acclaimed for its work on disorders of the brain, particularly those that are age-related.

Dean LaFerla was also founding director of the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, which united several neuroscience-related departments and faculty under one major programmatic initiative. He has since facilitated the recruitment to UC Irvine of numerous outstanding graduate students.

Dean LaFerla received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and his B.A. from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He has research interests in the molecular biology of Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegenerative disorders, transgenic and genetically-modified animal models, presenilins and calcium signaling, and learning and memory.

He has received several honors for his research accomplishments, including the Promising Work Award from the Metropolitan Life Foundation for Medical Research, the Ruth Salta Investigator Achievement Award from the American Health Assistance Foundation, the Zenith Fellows Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, the UCI Innovators Award, and the Senate Distinguished Mid-Career Faculty Research Award.

Dean LaFerla is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an elected member of the American Neurological Association, the American Society for Cell Biology, the International Society for Stem Cell Research, and the Society for Neuroscience. He is a frequent guest presenter and keynote speaker at local, national, and international venues.