Aaron Bornstein

Aaron Bornstein, UCI assistant professor of cognitive sciences, has been named the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory’s 2024 Exceptional Mentor. The honor annually recognizes a CNLM Fellow who demonstrates a track record of excellent intentional mentorship, or who has impacted the climate of a department or graduate program to better support the training experiences of early career scientists, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups.

Bornstein specializes in studies on human memory and the ways memory guides decisions. Whether subconsciously or consciously, when a new situation is encountered, memory helps us to generalize from past experiences to make sense of our current environment, he says. No two people have the exact same experienced memories - not even identical twins raised together - so studying how memory influences behavior can help us understand why behaviors differ so dramatically from person to person. His ongoing work examines how memory impacts perceptual decisions, age-related differences in planning, and psychiatric symptoms such as anhedonia.

His research on the topic has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Aging, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and published in Nature Communications; Nature Neuroscience; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience; Neuropsychopharmacology; PLoS Computational Biology; the European Journal of Neuroscience; and the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Bornstein joined the UCI faculty in 2019 following a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute. He earned his Ph.D. at New York University and his bachelor’s in mathematics with an emphasis in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He will be recognized for his work at the May 9 CNLM Awards Ceremony.

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