Research Affiliate

Matt Kearney

Matt is a psychiatry resident in the MGH/McLean psychiatry training program. At MGH/McLean, he is a member of the Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP) research track and joined the Halassa lab as a research affiliate in 2020.

Matt completed his MD and PhD in neurobiology at Duke University where he investigated mechanisms of vocal learning in songbirds in the laboratory of Richard Mooney. His thesis work explored neural circuit mechanisms underlying vocal performance evaluation in songbirds and delineated discrete roles for inputs to midbrain dopaminergic circuitry in shaping song evaluation and enabling vocal learning. In the Halassa lab, he is excited to explore neural circuit mechanisms underlying cognitive flexibility. He is especially interested in the role of neuromodulation, particularly dopaminergic signaling, in shaping thalamic-PFC interactions and regulating cognitive flexibility. Ultimately, he hopes that elucidating such mechanisms will both provide novel insights into fundamental neural processes and enable more precise therapeutic targeting of these circuits to restore cognitive flexibility in those that suffer from serious mental illness.

In his free time Matt enjoys hiking, basketball, and reading.



Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences
43 Vassar St
Cambridge, MA 02139


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