Compartmentalization: How to Manage Competing Priorities in Academia


Hear how this panel of established neuroscientists has juggled work and personal responsibilities over the course of their academic careers. They give advice about using the flexibility of academia to work efficiently and reveal the ultimate secret to staying afloat in a sea of deadlines: making lots of lists.

What methods help you separate your work life from your home life and why is that separation so important? Post your comment below.

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Tracy Bale

Tracy Bale, PhD

Tracy Bale is a professor of neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine and in the department of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine. Bale studies prenatal stress and how it can translate to neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases. Her work involves developing mouse models of stress sensitivity in order to uncover effects of prolonged stressors on future offspring's health. Bale did her postdoctoral training in stress neuroendocrinology at the Salk Institute in California before joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003.

Margaret McCarthy, PhD

Margaret McCarthy, PhD

Margaret McCarthy is a professor in and chair of the department of pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her research program focuses on the influence of steroid hormones on the developing brain. She is a member of the University of Maryland Graduate School and the Center for Studies in Reproduction as well as a member of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, the Society for Neuroscience, the American Physiological Association, and the Endocrine Society.

Eric Nestler

Eric Nestler, PhD

Eric J. Nestler is Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience, chair of the department of neuroscience, and director of the Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Nestler is the president-elect of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. His laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms of drug addiction and depression in animal models with a particular interest in long-lasting changes that are mediated via alterations in gene expression and chromatin remodeling. The result of the research will guide future efforts toward the development of more effective treatments for addiction and depression.

Marina Picciotto

Marina Picciotto, PhD

Marina Picciotto is the Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry and a professor in the Child Study Center in neurobiology and pharmacology at Yale University. Her research focuses on the role of single molecules in complex behaviors related to addiction, depression, learning, and appetite. She served as a senior editor of The Journal of Neuroscience from 2006-2012 and has worked with the Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research and the Journal of Neurochemistry. In 2000, she was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering by President Clinton and, in 2007, she was honored with the Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Award for Innovative Research in Drug Addiction and Alcoholism by SfN. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2012.

Kerry Ressler

Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD

Kerry Ressler is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Yerkes Research Center at Emory College. Ressler’s lab studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of fear learning and the process of extinction of fear in mouse models. He hopes that by understanding how fear works in the brain, it will improve the understanding of and advance treatments for fear-based disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder.

Catherine Woolley

Catherine Woolley, PhD

Catherine Woolley is the William Deering Professor of the department of neurobiology at the Northwestern University College of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on steroid regulation of synaptic structure and function and the consequences of steroid-driven synaptic modulation for behavior. Two ideas driving her work in the lab are that estrogens are produced not only in periphery as hormones but also directly within the brain as neurosteoids that rapidly modulate synaptic function and behavior, and that some mechanisms of synaptic modulation in non-reproductive parts of the brain differ between the sexes, which is important for understanding how experience or interventions, such as drugs, affect males and females differently.

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