Megan Hagenauer, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Scientist, Michigan Neuroscience Institute

205 Zina Pitcher Place 
MBNI #2008
Ann Arbor MI 49109-5720


Areas of Interest

I specialize in the analysis and interpretation of high dimensional neuroscience data, with a particular interest in the application of genomics to the study of neuropsychiatric disorder.
My research focus has changed over the years. I began my career as a behavioral neuroscientist. As a student, I studied affective neuroscience, reproductive neuroendocrinology, and circadian rhythms, and ended up focusing my dissertation on the hormonal basis for adolescent sleep patterns using animal models. However, while working on my dissertation I developed severe rodent allergies and was forced to switch fields.
As a post-doctoral researcher, I began full-time training in bioinformatics and computational neuroscience. Because of my awareness of the complexity and noise present in neuroscience experimental designs, I was able to make substantial improvements in the analysis of brain transcriptional profiling data, and ended up playing a principal role in the analysis of a large number of public and privately-held datasets for the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Research Consortium, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Hope for Depression Research Foundation.
My role as a professional analyst now extends beyond statistical coding – I evaluate experimental designs for sources of confounding variability and noise, guide researchers in the interpretation of results from large “discovery” datasets, and help triangulate results with publicly-available data sources. I also write custom code to automate laboratory procedures, and recently co-led a workshop that spurred the development of several computational models for the relationship between disrupted sleep and pain sensitivity. 
Over the years I have worked closely with undergraduate researchers, and typically my research is buoyed by a team of 3-4 students. I also teach courses in experimental design, statistics, and programming at the University of Michigan, including a module in the Neuroscience Graduate Program “bootcamp” focused on improving experimental design and statistical practices in response to the reproducibility crisis. 
In the community, I run an outreach program every December in Ypsilanti Community Schools that introduces several hundred elementary school kids to computer coding as part of Computer Science Education Week.

Honors & Awards

2016 Outstanding Mentor Award, Honorable Mention: Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Program, University of Michigan
2013 INSPIRE Young Investigator: Viareggio, Italy
2011 Young Investigator Award: The Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
2011 Proquest Distinguished Dissertation Award: Honorable Mention (in the top 15 out of 766 dissertations awarded at UM in 2011)
2009 Departmental Nomination for Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service: University of Michigan Medical School

Published Articles or Reviews

Birt IA*, Hagenauer MH*, Clinton SM, Aydin C, Blandino P, Stead JDH, Hilde KL, Meng F, Thompson RC, Khalil H, Stefanov A, Maras P, Zhou Z, Hebda-Bauer EK, Goldman D, Watson SJ, Akil H: Genetic liability for internalizing versus externalizing behavior manifests in the developing and adult hippocampus: Insight from a meta-analysis of transcriptional profiling studies in a selectively-bred rat model. Biological Psychiatry 89(4): 339-355, 2021. PMC7704921
Turner CA*, Hagenauer MH*, Aurbach EL*, Maras PM, Fournier CL, Blandino, Jr., P, Chauhan RB,
Panksepp J, Watson Jr., SJ, Akil H: Effects of early-life FGF2 on ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) and the
mu-opioid receptor in male Sprague-Dawley rats selectively-bred for differences in their response to novelty. Brain Research 1715: 106-114, 2019. PMC6500487
Hagenauer MH, Schulmann A, Li JZ, Vawter MP, Walsh DM, Thompson RC, Turner CA, Bunney WE,
Myers RM, Barchas JD, Schatzberg A, Watson SJ, Akil H: Inference of cell-type content from human
brain transcriptomic datasets illuminates the effects of age, manner of death, dissection, and psychiatric diagnosis. PLOS One 13(7): e0200003, 2018. PMC6049916
Hagenauer MH, Crodelle JA, Piltz SH, Toporikova N, Ferguson P, Booth V.: The modulation of pain by
circadian and sleep-dependent processes: A review of the experimental evidence. Women in Mathematical Biology, Layton A., Miller L., eds. Springer Publishing, 2017. 1-21
For more publications click here.

Web Sites