Craig E L Stark

picture of Craig E L Stark

Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior
School of Biological Sciences

Fellow, Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Biomarker Core Leader, Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND)

Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, 1997, Cognitive Psychology
B.A., Harvard University, 1992, Psychology

Phone: (949) 824-4201

University of California, Irvine
1424 Biological Sciences 3
Mail Code: 3800
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Memory, hippocampus, neuroimaging, amnesia, FMRI
Academic Distinctions
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Fellow, Association for Psychological Science (APS)
Research Abstract
Dr. Stark's research investigates the neural bases of human long-term memory. He uses functional neuroimaging (fMRI), experimental psychology, neuropsychological studies of amnesic patients, and studies of aging and dementia to investigate how the neural systems supporting these various types of memory operate and interact. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the human hippocampus and other components of the medial temporal lobe.
Hippocampal Subfield Volumetry from Structural isotropic 1 mm3 MRI Scans: A Note of Caution (in press). Wisse L., Chételat G., Daugherty A., de Flores R., La Joie R., Mueller S., Stark C., Wang L., Yushkevich P., Berron D., Raz N., Bakker A., Olsen R., Carr V. Human Brain Mapping
Clemenson GD, Wang L, Mao Z, Stark SM, Stark CEL (2020). Exploring the spatial relationships between real and virtual experiences: What transfers and what doesn’t? Frontiers in Virtual Reality
Stark SM, Frithsen A, & Stark CEL (2020). Age-related alterations in functional connectivity along the longitudinal axis of the hippocampus and its subfields. Hippocampus
Ventakesh A, Stark SM, Stark CE, Bennett IJ (2020). Age- and Memory- Related Differences in Hippocampal Gray Matter Integrity Are Better Captured by NODDI Compared to Single-Tensor Diffusion Imaging. Neurobiology of Aging, doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.08.004
Papp KV, Rentz DM, Maruff P, Sun CK, Raman R, Donohue MC, Schembri A, Stark C, Yassa MA, Wessels AM, Yaari R, Holdridge KC, Aisen PS, Sperling RA on behaof of the A4 Study Team (2020) The Computerized Cognitive Composite (C3) in an Alzheimer’s Disease Secondary Prevention Trial. The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Kolarik, Stark SM, & Stark CEL (2020) Enriching hippocampal memory function in older adults through real-world exploration. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2020.00158
Clemenson GD, Stark SM, Rutledge SM, & Stark CEL (2020) Enriching hippocampal memory function in older adults through video games. Behavioral and Brain Research, doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2020.112667
Klippenstein JL, Stark SM, Stark CEL, & Bennett IJ (2020) Neural substrates of mnemonic discrimination: A whole-brain fMRI investigation. Brain & Behavior, doi: 10.1002/brb3.1560
Radhakrishnana H, Stark SM, & Stark CEL (2020) Microstructural alterations in hippocampal subfields mediate age-related memory decline in humans. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience,
Levine L, Lench H, Stark C, Carlson S, Carpenter Z, Stark S, & Frithsen A (2019). Predicted and remembered emotion: Tomorrow’s vividness trumps yesterday’s accuracy. Memory, 28(1): 128-140.
Olsen RK, Carr VA, … Stark CEL … Wisse LM on behalf of the Hippocampal Subfields Group (2019). Progress update from the hippocampal subfields group. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, 11, 439-499.
Stark SM, Kirwan CB, & Stark CEL (2019). Mnemonic Similarity Task: A Tool for Assessing Hippocampal Integrity. Trends in Cognitive Science,
Acharya MM, Baulch JE, Klein PM, Baddour AAD, Apodaca LA, Kramár EA, Alikhani L, Garcia C, Angulo MC, Batra RS, Fallgren CM, Borak TB, Stark CEL, Wood MA, Britten RA, Soltesz I, & Limoli CL (2019). New concerns for neurocognitive function during deep space exposures to chronic, low dose rate, neutron radiation. eNeuro August 5, 2019.
Clemenson GD, Henningfield CM, & Stark C (2019). Improving hippocampal memory through the experience of a rich Minecraft environment. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00057
Stark SM, & Stark CEL (2019). Excitatory/inhibitory imbalance in anterior lateral occipital cortex can impair hippocampal mnemonic discrimination. Neuron, 101: 360-362.
Frithsen A, Stark SM, & Stark CEL (2018). Response bias, recollection, and familiarity in individuals with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM). Memory,
Stark SM, Frithsen A, Mattfeld AT, & Stark CEL (2018) Modulation of associative learning in the hippocampal-striatal circuit based on item-set similarity. Cortex, 109: 60-73.
Wais PE, Montgomery O, Stark CEL, & Gazzaley A (2018) Evidence of a causal role for mid-ventrolateral prefrontal cortex based functional networks in retrieving high-fidelity memory. Scientific Reports, 8(1): 14877. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-33164-w
Bennett IJ, Stark SM, & Stark CEL (2018) Recognition memory dysfunction relates to hippocampal subfield volume: A study of cognitively normal and mildly impaired older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences,
Stark SM & Stark CEL (2017) Age-related deficits in the mnemonic similarity task for objects and scenes. Behavioral Brain Research, 333: 109-117.
Stark SM, Reagh ZM, Yassa MA, & Stark CEL (2017) What’s in a context? Cautions, limitations, and potential paths forward. Neuroscience Letters,
Huffman DJ & Stark CEL (2017) The influence of low-level stimulus features on the representation of contexts, items, and their mnemonic associations. Neuroimage,
Nikolova S, Stark SM, & Stark CEL (2017) 3T hippocampal glutamate-glutamine complex reflects verbal memory decline in aging. Neurobiology of Aging, DOI:
Huffman DJ & Stark CEL (2017) Age-related impairment on a forced-choice version of the Mnemonic Similarity Task. Behavioral Neuroscience, 131(1): 55-67.
Wais PE, Jahanikia S, Steiner D, Stark CEL, Gazzaley A (2017) Retrieval of high-fidelity memory arises from distributed cortical networks. NeuroImage, 149: 178-189.
Wisse LEM, Daugherty, AM…..Stark, CEL…..Hippocampal Subfields Group (2016) A harmonized segmentation protocol for hippocampal and parahippocampal subregions: Why do we need one and what are the key goals? Hippocampus, DOI 10.1002/hipo.22671. PMCID: PMC5167633
Mesina L, Wilber AA, Clark BJ, Dube S, Demecha AJ, Stark CEL, & McNaughton BL (2016) A methodological pipeline for serial-section imaging and tissue realignment for whole-brain functional and connectivity assessment. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 266: 151-160.
LePort AKR, Stark SM, McGaugh JL, & Stark CEL (2016) A cognitive assessment of Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. Memory, 25(2):276-88.
Saletin JM, Goldstein-Piekarski AN, Greer SM, Stark S, Stark CEL, & Walker MP (2016) Human hippocampal structure: A novel biomarker predicting mnemonic vulnerability to, and recovery from, sleep deprivation. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(8): 2355-2363. PMCID: PMC4764658
LePort AKR, Stark SM, McGaugh JL, & Stark CEL (2016) Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory: Quality and quantity of retention over time. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:2017. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02017. PMCID: PMC4720782
Clemenson GD, & Stark CEL (2015) Virtual environmental enrichment through video games improves hippocampal-associated memory. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(49): 16116-16125. PMCID: PMC4682779
Bennett LJ, & Stark CEL (2016) Mnemonic discrimination relates to perforant path integrity: An ultra-high resolution diffusion tensor imaging study. Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, 129:107-12. PMCID: PMC2699874
Stark SM, Stevenson R, Wu C, Rutledge S, Stark CEL (2015). Stability of age-related deficits in mnemonic similarity across task variations. Behavioral Neuroscience, 129(3): 257-268. PMCID PMC4451612
Yushkevich PA, Amaral RS, Augustinack JC…..Stark CEL…..Zeineh MM (2015). Quantitative comparison of 21 protocols for labeling hippocampal subfields and parahippocampal subregions in vivo MRI: Towards a harmonized segmentation protocol. NeuroImage, DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.01.004. PMCID PMC4387011
Allen TA, Morris AM, Stark SM, Fortin NJ, Stark CEL (2015). Memory for sequences of events impaired in typical aging. Learning and Memory, 22(3): 138-48. PMCID: PMC4340129
Mattfeld AM & Stark CEL (2015). Functional contributions and interactions between human hippocampus and subregions of the striatum during arbitrary associative learning and memory. Hippocampus, 25: 900-911. PMCID: PMC4492918
Das T, Ivleva E, Wagner A, Stark CEL, Tamminga CA (2014). Loss of pattern separation performance in schizophrenia suggests dentate gyrus dysfunction. Schizophrenia Research, 159(1): 193-7. PMCID: PMC4177293
Allen TA, Morris,AM, Mattfeld AM, Stark CEL, Fortin NJ (2014). A sequence of events model of episodic memory shows parallels in rats and humans. Hippocampus, 24(10): 1178-88.
Bennett IJ, Huffman DJ, Stark CEL (2014). Limbic tract integrity contributes to pattern separation performance across the lifespan. Cerebral Cortex, DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhu093. PMCID: PMC4553719.
Huffman DJ, & Stark CEL (2014). Multivariate pattern analysis of the human medial temporal lobe revealed representationally categorical cortex and representationally agnostic hippocampus. Hippocampus, 42(11): 1394-403. PMCID: PMC4197092.
Patihis L, Frenda SJ, LePort AKR, Peterson N, Nichols RM, Stark CEL, McGaugh JL, & Loftus EF (2013). False memories in Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory individuals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(52): 20947-52. PMCID: PMC3876244.
Azab M, Stark SM, & Stark CEL (2013). Contributions of human hippocampal subfields to spatial and temporal pattern separation. Hippocampus, 24(3):293-302. PMCID: PMC3933274.
Lacy, JW, & Stark, CEL (2013). The neuroscience of memory: implications for the courtroom. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 14: 1-10.
Stark SM, Yassa MA, Lacy JW, & Stark CEL (2013). A task to assess behavioral pattern separation (BPS) in humans: Data from healthy aging and mild cognitive impairment. Neuropsychologia, doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.12.014 [Epub ahead of print].
Kirwan CB, Hartshorn A, Stark SM, Goodrich-Hunsaker NJ, Hopkins RO, & Stark CEL (2012). Pattern separation deficits following damage to the hippocampus. Neuropsychologia, 50(10), 2408-2414. PMCID: PMC3411917.
LePort, AKR., Mattfeld, AT, Dickinson-Anson, H, Fallon, JH, Stark, CEL, Kruggel, FR, Cahill, L, & McGaugh, JL (2012). A behavioral and neuroanatomical investigation of Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM). Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 98(1), 78-92.
Lacy, JW, & Stark, CEL (2012). Intrinsic functional connectivity of the medial temporal lobe suggest a distinction between adjacent MTL cortices and hippocampus. Hippocampus, 22: 2290-2302.
Stark, CEL (2012) It is time to fill gaps left by simple dissociations. Cognitive Neuroscience, 3: 215-216.
Yassa MA, Hazlett RL, Stark CEL, & Hoehn-Saric R (2012). Functional MRI of the amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis during prolonged stress in generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 46(8):1045-52.
Segal, SK, Stark, SM, Kattan, D, Stark, CEL, & Yassa, MA (2012). Norepinephrine-mediated emotional arousal facilitates subsequent pattern separation. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 97(4): 465-469.
Bakker, A, Krauss, G, Albert, MA, Speck, CL, Jones, LR, Stark, CEL, Yassa, MA, Bassett, SS, Shelton, AL, & Gallagher, M (2012). Levetiracetam treatment attenuates excess hippocampal activity with cognitive benefit in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Neuron, 74(3): 476-474. PMCID: PMC3351697.
Hargraeves EL, Mattfeld AM, Stark CEL, & Suzuki WA (2012). Conserved fMRI and LFP signals during new associative learning in the human and macaque monkey medial temporal lobe. Neuron, 74(4): 743-752.
Mattfeld AM, Gluck MA & Stark CEL (2011). Functional specialization within the striatum along both the dorsal/ventral and anterior/posterior axes during associative learning via reward and punishment. Learning and Memory, 18:703-711. PMCID: PMC3207255.
Yassa MA & Stark CEL (2011) Pattern separation in the hippocampus. Trends in Neuroscience
Yassa MA, Mattfeld, AT, Stark SM, & Stark CEL (2011) Age-related memory deficits linked to circuit-specific disruptions in the hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 108(21), 8873-8878.
Lacy JW, Yassa MA, Stark SM, & Stark CEL (2011) Distinct pattern separation related transfer functions in human CA1 and CA3/DG revealed using high-resolution fMRI and mnemonic similarity. Learning and Memory, 18: 15-18
Stark CEL, Okado Y, & Loftus, EF (2010) Imaging the reconstruction of true and false memories using sensory reactivation and the misinformation paradigm. Learning and Memory, 17: 485-488.
Mattfeld AM & Stark CEL (2010) Striatal and medial temporal lobe functional interactions during visuomotor associative learning. Cerebral Cortex, E-pub ahead of print, Aug 5, 2010. doi.10.1093/cercor/bbq144.
Yassa MA, Muftuler LT, & Stark CEL (2010) Ultrahigh-resolution microstructural diffusion tensor imaging (msDTI) elucidates perforant path degradation in aged humans in vivo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A, 107(28), 12687-12691.
Stark SM, Yassa MA, & Stark CEL (2010) Individual differences in spatial pattern separation performance associated with healthy aging in humans. Learning and Memory, 17(6), 284-288.
Yassa MA, Wu J, Stark SM, Albert MS, Gallagher M, & Stark CEL (2010) Pattern separation deficits associated with increased hippocampal CA3 and dentate gyrus activity in nondemented older adults. Hippocampus, E-pub ahead of print: 2010 DOI 10.1002/hipo.20808.
Yassa MA, Stark SM, Bakker A, Albert MS, Gallagher M, & Stark CEL (2010) High-resolution functional MRI of hippocampal CA3 and dentate gyrus in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. NeuroImage, 51(3), 1242-1252.
Gallagher M, Bakker A, Yassa MA, & Stark CEL (2010) Bridging neurocognitive aging and disease modification: targeting functional mechanisms of impairment. Current Alzheimer’s Research, 7(3), 1567-2050.
Professional Societies
Society for Neuroscience
Memory Disorders Research Society
Association for Psychological Science
Graduate Programs
Neurobiology and Behavior

Research Centers
Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (CNLM)
UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurobiological Disorders (UCI MIND)
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