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Michele Insanally, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Neurobiology, and Bioengineering

Prior to joining the faculty at Pitt, Dr. Insanally completed her postdoctoral work with Dr. Robert Froemke at New York University School of Medicine where she investigated the neural basis of auditory perception. Dr. Insanally received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley working in the lab of Dr. Shaowen Bao, where she examined how early life experience affects the brain—specifically critical period plasticity in the developing rodent auditory cortex.

    Education & Training

  • New York University School of Medicine, Postdoc
  • University of California, Berkeley, PhD in Neuroscience
  • Columbia University, BA in Biological Sciences, with distinction
NIH Pathway to Independence Award
Geraldine Dietz Fox Young Investigator Award from ARO
Brain and Behavior Foundation Young Investigator Award
NYU Provost Postdoctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity
Elizabeth Roboz Einstein Fellowship in Neurosciences
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
Research Interests

Dr. Insanally's research investigates how the brain constructs neuronal representations during adaptive auditory behaviors, how these behaviors are gated during learning, and how the population dynamics underlying these behaviors is disrupted in hearing disorders. Her scientific approach combines neural recordings, behavior, optogenetics, circuit mapping, and computational models to uncover the mechanisms that allow the auditory system to flexibly gate the behavioral relevance of sounds in dynamic environments. A deeper understanding of how neural dynamics emerge and evolve during learning will open novel avenues for the treatment of hearing deficits caused by disease or injury and inform targeted therapies for central auditory processing disorders.