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Josephine McGowan


Post-Doctoral Fellow
Dr. Bill Carlezon Behavioral Genetics Laboratory
McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School

PhD, Neurobiology and Behavior

Dr. Christine Ann Denny Laboratory
Columbia University

BA, Neurobiology and Behavior / English

Barnard College

Welcome to my personal website! Here, you'll find my CV, Research Goals, Resources, Personal Philosophy, and more. I'm open to forming new collaborations, learning about writing and speaking opportunities, and connecting with budding scientists to lend my advice. Reach out and let's chat!

About Me

​​I am a neuroscientist passionate about my scientific work, outreach & diversity, teaching, and being an effective mentor for the next generation of scientists. I received my PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior from Dr. Christine Ann Denny's laboratory at Columbia University in March 2022, and am currently a post-doctoral fellow funded by the D-SPAN (F99/K00) Award in Dr. Bill Carlezon’s Lab at McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School.

I am fascinated by neuropsychiatric disease and what makes individuals more susceptible to stress-induced disorders. In Dr. Denny’s lab, and in collaboration with investigators at the University of Paris-Sud XI through the Chateaubriand Fellowship, my research portfolio has broadly covered the mechanisms of action of ketamine as a prophylactic, how aging impacts memory, efficacy of therapeutics across the lifespan, and biomarker discovery.

To further my development into an independent investigator, in Dr. Carlezon’s laboratory, I currently lead a study on the translational effects of early life stress on lifelong susceptibility to psychiatric disease. I am also fascinated by the effects of stress on sleep and the role of inflammation in this interaction. My ultimate goal is to uncover how stress, sleep, and inflammation interact to contribute to psychiatric pathophysiology across species. This project is especially pertinent during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has combinatorically impacted inflammation, increased stress and anxiety, and affected sleep across the globe. 

My ultimate goal is to develop a research program that bridges basic, rigorous neuroscientific research with psychiatry to develop translational therapies. See Research for my vision for the McGowan Lab (projected 2026).

When I’m not in lab or engaged in outreach, I am training for my next marathon, exploring the world, on a spontaneous adventure, reading and writing, enjoying time with my family & my sweet pup, or playing guitar.


“I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rainer Maria Rilke


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