Empowering woman to improve their health, while providing opportunities to thrive in healthcare, are some of the many reasons why Northwell is excited to celebrate Women’s History Month and team members like Ciara Bagnall-Moreau. We recently spoke with Dr. Bagnall-Moreau, one of our postdoctoral research scientists from The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research (FIMR). Dr. Bagnall-Moreau conducts her research at the Institute of Molecular Medicine where she investigates the role of the maternal immune system in brain development and behavior outcomes of offspring.
Read what Dr. Bagnall-Moreau has to say about what this month means to her and why it’s an exciting time to conduct scientific research at Northwell Health.
Can you tell us more about what research you are currently working on at Northwell?
As a member of the Brimberg laboratory team, I utilize a behavioral model along with cutting-edge neuroscience methodology, to understand whether the exposure to specific maternal antibodies (present in some women during pregnancy), might increase risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASDs).
How has your research and professional development been supported by Northwell?
My scientific journey at Northwell started about four years ago. I knew I wanted to continue my postgraduate training after my PhD, but I had trepidations about starting a new job after giving birth to my daughter. Looking back, now I know I had nothing to fear. I have wonderful, supportive mentors at Northwell who encourage me to pursue my career path. I work alongside other scientists within my department who have contributed to my ability to exchange scientific ideas and think more critically
I also am privileged to have received additional support from Advancing Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM), a Northwell organization that has offered professional development workshops and grants to support my attendance at training courses and research conferences. These opportunities have a positive impact on my professional development. Because of the support I receive, I’m able to serve as a site coordinator at FIMR for Northwell’s Spark Challenge, and I have also been able to mentor several students in our summer research internship program.
What do you think about most during Women’s History Month? What does it mean to you?
I reflect on this month to recognize and honor the trailblazers and the little known, often overlooked women in history, who have made significant contributions to science and medicine. There is so much work still needed to be done to help inspire our next generation of female scientists and to create the infrastructure to support women in STEM at all stages of their career.
What do you love most about your job at Northwell?
I especially enjoy the collaborative and supportive team environment. Many ideas and techniques are shared among scientists in my department and often within teams of individuals from different disciplines and expertise. These opportunities to freely discuss research and brainstorm in an open environment contributes to scientific progress and innovation.
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