Meaghan Navarrete Mathews

Meaghan Navarrete Mathews

"Learn more to better help others.”

College: Medicine
Degree Program: Neuroscience
Degree: Doctorate

Award: McKnight Dissertation Fellowship (2023)

Why FSU?

Upon learning more about the environment and resources available at FSU during my interview weekend, I was convinced that I would receive a well-rounded and vigorous graduate training at FSU. I study in the College of Medicine and am part of the Program in Neuroscience, which is an interdisciplinary program that spreads across the departments of Biomedical Sciences, Biological Science, and Psychology with members in several other FSU departments as well. Resources and training opportunities are shared across all of these departments, creating a very collaborative and open environment to learn and work.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree

I wanted to pursue a graduate degree to benefit myself and others. I have always loved learning and believe you should continue learning new things throughout your life. Graduate education will also give me better tools and knowledge to help my community and the world. I want my work to leave a positive impact on those around me.

Importance and/or impact of research and work

There is a great need for earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments of psychosis, but a lack of understanding of the underlying neural circuitry involved in the pathophysiology of psychosis is a major barrier to the development of effective treatment options. My research examines the synaptic and functional details of a murine neural circuit that links hippocampal hyperactivity to overactive dopamine signaling and psychosis-associated behavior. The investigation of specific brain regions, pathways, and nerve cells will help fill the gap in knowledge of the underlying neurobiology of psychosis and aid our ability to ultimately identify early indicators of pathology and develop new and more targeted treatment options.

Career aspirations

My passion for pursuing a career in science stems from the desire to understand the molecular basis for the cognitive changes that occur in psychiatric disorders. I am also interested in exploring how we classify and diagnose mental disorders as scientists and physicians and how this impacts society’s and individuals’ understanding of their mental health. My ideal career would allow me to utilize both my scientific training and background in the philosophy of science to study schizophrenia and the interplay between the brain and our understanding of psychiatric symptoms. My long-term goal is to be a professor and run my own lab at an institution that values both research and training new scientists.

Advice for anyone considering graduate school

My advice for anyone considering graduate school would be to make sure you are passionate about the work you will be doing and to keep in mind your goals for the future. Graduate school can be hard so holding on to your reasons 'why' will help you stay encouraged and motivated.

Accomplishments during graduate career

I am proud of the following accomplishments: