Megan Kirchgessner is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Robert Froemke at the New York University School of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in neurosciences from the University of California, San Diego, and her B.A. in cognitive sciences and psychology from Rice University. She is interested in how neural circuits for sensory processing are constructed and modified by experience and used for social behaviors.
For her doctoral research in the lab of Dr. Edward Callaway at the Salk Institute, she studied how different types of neurons in the cerebral cortex that communicate with the thalamus play distinct roles in visual processing. Currently, as a postdoc in the Froemke Lab, she is investigating how early-life experience and neuromodulators like oxytocin contribute to shaping neural circuits for vocal auditory processing. Through this work, she aims to better understand how the brain specializes for sorting through sensory information most relevant for social engagement, such as language, and how those abilities are impacted by atypical neurodevelopment.
Kirchgessner has been the recipient of the NIH 2021 Outstanding Scholars in Neuroscience Award, the UCSD Neurosciences Graduate Teaching award, and an F31 NRSA predoctoral fellowship from the National Eye Institute. She is also a co-founder of Stories of Women in Neuroscience (Stories of WiN), a website and podcast aimed at promoting and advocating for women in neuroscience.