Margaret M. McCarthy PhD

Margaret (Peg) McCarthy received a PhD from the Institute of Animal Behavior at Rutgers University, Newark NJ, postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University and was a National Research Council Fellow at NIAAA before joining the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1993.  She was a Professor in the Department of Physiology before becoming the Chair of the Department of Pharmacology in 2011.


McCarthy has a long-standing interest in the cellular mechanisms establishing sex differences in the brain.  She uses a combined behavioral and mechanistic approach in the laboratory rat to understand both normal brain development and how these processes might go selectively awry in males versus females. She is the former President of Organization for the Study of Sex Differences and currently serves as Chair for the Board of Scientific Councilors of NIMH, an Associate Editor at Hormones and Behavior and on the Advisory Board of eNeuro. Dr. McCarthy is a Member of the Dana Alliance on Brain Research and Fellow for AAAS. She was awarded the University of Maryland Researcher of the Year and Champion of Excellence awards in 2015 and 2017, respectfully.

She has published over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts and her work has been cited close to 10,000 times. In 2019, McCarthy was recognized for all of her accomplishments over her 25 year career with the distinguished James and Carolyn Frenkil Dean's Professorship.  

Current Lab Members

Erin Reinl PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Lindsay Pickett
Graduate Student
Sheryl Arambula PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Sydney Ashton
Graduate Student
Amanda Holley PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Ashley Marquardt
Graduate Student
Miguel Perez-Pouchoulen PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Wahid Zada PhD
Visiting Scholar
Kathy Kight PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Marco Rasile PhD
Visiting Scholar
N. Shalon Edwards
Senior Research Analyst
Andressa Rejani Ribeiro Leite
Visiting Research Fellow
Max Burzinski
Laboratory Technician

Alexa Blanchard

MD/MS Candidate

Emily Graham
Laboratory Technician

McCarthy Lab Alumni

Graduate Student Trainees

Aline M. Davis, PhD, 1998 -  “The neonatal GABAergic system as a mediator of sexual differentiation of the rat brain” – current position, Associate Professor with tenor, Framingham State College, Framingham, MA


Jessica A. Mong, PhD, 2000 – “Steroid mediated astrocyte differentiation in the developing hypothalamus: Implications for sexually dimorphic synaptic patterning” – current position, Associate Professor with tenure, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore – awarded a BIRCWH Scholars grant.


Micah S. Sickel, MD, PhD 2003 – “Involvement of the calcium binding protein, calbindin D-28K, in sexually dimorphic processes of the developing brain” – current position, Staff Psychiatrist, University of North Carolina, Durham NC.


Stuart Amateau, MD, PhD 2003 – “Estradiol-induced masculinization of the developing preoptic area: Evidence from form to function”, received an F30 NRSA Award from NIMH in 2000. Current position, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota   


Genell Hilton, RN. PhD 2005 - "Sex differences in perinatal brain damage: A role for estradiol modulation of kainic acid induced excitotoxicity." - current position Medical Staff, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, CA.


Jaclyn M. Schwartz, PhD 2008 – “A critical role for glutamate in the organizational effects of estradiol on the developing hypothalamus”, received an F31 NRSA from NINDS in 2007. Current position, postdoctoral fellow at Duke University, Durham NC.


Christopher L. Wright, PhD 2009 – “Identification of the prostaglandin E2 receptors mediating the neonatal organization of male sexual behavior and neuroanatomical correlates. 


Shannon S. Dean, MD/PhD 2009 – “Regulation of cerebellar estradiol synthesis and Purkinje cell morphology by prostaglandins: Implications for neurodevelopmental disease. Neurology Resident, Johns Hopkins University. Current position Instructor,  Department of Neurology,  University of Rochester


Bridget Nugent, PhD 2012 – “Effect of DNA methyltransferase activity on sexual differentiation of the rodent brain”, NRSA application scored 11% on first submission. Current position, Assistant Professor at University of Maryland.


Jessica Hoffman, PhD 2013  – “A sensitive period in cerebellar development defined by PGE2 and estradiol production”, Received F31 NRSA grant in 2011, Current position, Research Biochemist, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Unit, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda MD.


Sarah Stockman, PhD 2017  – “Epigenetic contributions to different developmental trajectories of male and female hippocampus. Current position, MSII at University of Maryland.


Jonathan van Ryzin , PhD 2018 – “Microglia mediated sexual differentiation of the amygdala”. Current position, postdoctoral fellow, University of Maryland.

Postdoctoral Trainees

Dr. Anthony Auger, Department of Physiology, 1998 – 2001 postdoctoral fellow, received an NRSA F32 in 1999 from NICHD, received a KO1 Award from NIMH in 2001, current position, Associate Professor with tenure, Dept. of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison WI.


Dr. Tara Perrot-Sinal, Department of Physiology, 1998 – 2001, received an NSERC Award in 1998, current position – Associate Professor with tenure, Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada.


Dr. Joseph Nunez*, Department of Physiology, 2000 – 2004,  received an NSF Minority Fellowship Award in 2001 and a KO1 awarded April 2004 - Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing MI until 2012, now teaching high school

Dr. Brigitte Todd, Department of Physiology, 2002 – 2004, currently a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Dr. Anne Etgen, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY

Dr. Anne Konkle, Department of Physiology, 2003 – 2007, currently an Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology, University of Ottawa, Canada.


Dr. Debra Speert, Department of Physiology, 2003 - 2006, current position, Director of Public Information and Outreach, Society for Neuroscience, Washington D.C.


Dr. Susan Zup, Department of Physiology, 2005 – 2008, current position, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts, Department of Psychology, Boston MA

Dr. Christian Reich, Department of Physiology, 2005 - 2006, current position, Assistant Professor, Ramapo College, Department of Psychology, Mahwah, NJ


Dr. Desiree Krebs-Kraft, Department of Physiology, 2006 – 2010, received a Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission grant awarded May 2009, extended maternity leave.


Dr. Shu-Ling Liang, Department of Physiology, 2007 – 2009, current position, Assistant Professor, Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, Chang-Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan


Dr. Jaylyn Waddell, Department of Physiology, 2008 – 2010, current position, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, received a Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission grant awarded May 2009


Dr. Kathryn Lenz, Department of Physiology, 2009 – 2013, NRSA application scored 4% on first submission. Current position Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Ohio State University.


Dr. Nina Banerjee, Department of Physiology, 2010 – 2011, current position, Medical Science Liaison at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Atlanta GA


Dr. J. Michael Bowers*, Department of Pharmacology, 2008 – 2015, NRSA application scored 1%, K99 funded on first submission. Current position, tenure-track assistant professor, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg VA.


Dr. Christopher L. Wright, JD, PhD, Department of Pharmacology, 2011 – 2017, Associate Greenblum and Bernstein P.L.C., Licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland, the District of Columbia, and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Dr. Katherine Argue, Department of Pharmacology, 2012 – 2017, current position, Science Officer with Ripple Effect Communications, Inc., supporting the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), USAMRMC


Dr. Lidia Fuenzalida*, Department of Pharmacology, 2013 –2014. 


Dr. Pedro Paredes Ramos*, Department of Pharmacology, 2013 – 2014. Returned to Mexico.

About Us

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The McCarthy Lab sits at the intersection of neuroscience and endocrinology, utilizing the latest scientific techniques to elucidate the origins and mechanisms of sex differences in the developing brain. We are affiliated with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, located in Downtown Baltimore, Maryland.