The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) awarded Michela Gallagher, the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, with the Mika Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual Neuroscience conference in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
SfN gives this $5,000 award annually to an individual with an exemplary career who has actively promoted professional achievement for female neuroscientists.
In addition to teaching psychology and neuroscience classes, Gallagher has helped further her students’ careers in the field by allowing them to join her research projects. She has mentored more than 40 pre- and post-doctoral students, the majority of whom have continued on to successful careers in science.
She also serves as the director of the University’s Neurogenetics and Behavior Center, which studies genetically-manipulated mice.
“I am honored to be recognized by the Society of Neuroscience,” Gallagher said. “I share this award with my own mentors, colleagues and terrific students who have contributed to our research and discoveries over so many years.”
Gallagher’s research, which uses both animal and human models, has focused on the neurobiology of the aging brain. Her most recent work found that overactivity in key brain circuits increases the severity of the symptoms of amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI) in patients.
SfN noted Gallagher’s work in the late 1970s, which illustrated the neurotransmitter norepinephrine’s involvement in modular memory processes, as a major contribution to the field of cognitive neuroscience. Gallagher has also received support for her research from the National Institute on Aging for more than 20 years.
Gallagher served as the chair of the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department from 2000-2007, as the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs from 2008-2011 and as interim dean for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences in 2010.
In 2010, the American Psychological Association awarded Gallagher the D.O. Hebb Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. She has contributed to more than 250 papers in psychology and neuroscience.
Next semester, Gallagher will teach The Aging Brain, an undergraduate course on age-related changes in mental and cognitive function, and Topics in Neurocognitive Aging, a graduate seminar on memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease.