2020 Dissertation Award, Morgan Reiss Firestein, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Developmental Neuroscience, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY USA
– Postdoctoral Mentor: William Fifer, PhD, Columbia University in the City; Dissertation Mentor: Frances Champagne, Columbia University in the City
Dr. Morgan Firestein is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Dr. William Fifer in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. Supervised by Dr. Frances Champagne, she received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University in November, 2019. In collaboration with the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics, her research spans the prenatal through early childhood periods to identify prenatal factors that contribute to the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders. Using both in vivo and in-vitro methodologies, she studies how the placenta adapts in response to maternal cues and acts as a fetal barrier against maladaptive maternal physiological processes. Her doctoral research focused on placental regulation of fetal exposure to maternal sex hormones and the effects of exposure to aberrant levels of hormones on child neurodevelopment. As a graduate student, Morgan received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to conduct her studies. An overarching goal of her research is to integrate the fields of psychiatry, obstetrics, and pediatrics to improve identification of and early intervention for individuals at risk for neuropsychiatric conditions.