Megan R. Carey is principal investigator at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme in Lisbon, Portugal. Megan received her PhD from the University of California, San Francisco, where her thesis work on the neural mechanisms of motor learning was awarded UCSF’s Krevans Distinguished Dissertation Award. As a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School, her research focused on cellular mechanisms of neuromodulation and synaptic plasticity. In 2010 Dr. Carey moved to Lisbon, Portugal to start her independent laboratory at the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown. Her lab combines quantitative behavioral analysis, genetics, and physiology to understand how the brain, and the cerebellum in particular, controls coordinated movement. Megan is an International Early Career Scientist of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and recently received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council. She has been involved in organizing a number of international scientific conferences, including the Champalimaud Neuroscience Symposium (2011, 2016), Cosyne (Computational and systems neuroscience, Utah, USA), and FENS 2016 (Copenhagen, Denmark). Dr. Carey serves on the Open Science panel of the RISE high-level advisory group to the European Commission.
Understanding how cellular and synaptic mechanisms interact within neural circuits to control behavior is a fundamental goal of neuroscience. To achieve that goal, we need a thorough understanding of behavior as well as a detailed knowledge of the underlying neural circuit. With this in mind, we focus our research on the cerebellum, a brain area that is critical for coordinated motor control and motor learning and whose circuitry is relatively simple and well understood. Many of the neuron types in the cerebellum are molecularly identifiable, and existing technologies allow us to target transgenes to specific neuronal populations. By comparing specific aspects of behavior and neural activity across mice in which we have targeted genetic perturbations to different cell types, we hope to determine links between cellular function, circuit activity, and behavior.