Dr. Rita M. Cowell completed her undergraduate degree in honors biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1997) and her PhD in neuroscience (2002) and postdoctoral training (2006) at the University of Michigan. Afterward, she became an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she explored the role of transcriptional dysregulation in cortical dysfunction in mouse models of Huntington’s disease and schizophrenia. In 2017, she moved to Southern Research, a non-profit research institute in Birmingham, as chair of neuroscience, with a focus on identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying selective vulnerability in neurodegeneration. She has over 30 peer-reviewed publications, with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), MJFF, the American Heart Association, and the Tourette Syndrome Association. She also serves as a graduate student advisor and a reviewer for numerous peer-reviewed journals and NIH study sections.