Laboratory in Affective Neuroscience (J. Gewirtz)

Neural substrates of memory; Neural substrates of negative affect; Neural substrates of drug dependency; Drug dependence; Fear conditioning; Memory; Neural substrates of emotion
Lab Area
Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology
Lab Director
Jonathan Gewirtz
Actively Recruiting Undergraduate Researchers
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My lab studies negative emotional states (fear, anxiety, depression) using rat and mouse behavioral models. A significant emphasis is on the biology of fearful memory, which we dissect using Pavlovian conditioning paradigms. We also focus on drug dependence, since negative affective states are a prominent feature of drug withdrawal and likely play a critical role in the persistence of drug addiction. Our projects use a number of behavioral measures of emotion, including “potentiated startle“, the increase in magnitude of the acoustic startle reflex seen when a person or animal is in state of fear.

Jonathan Gewirtz

Jonathan Gewirtz is a professor in the Department of Psychology. He uses rodent behavioral models to study the biology of emotion, with particular interest in negative affect (e.g., anxiety) and addiction. His current research seeks to identify biological mechanisms underlying “secondary” trauma and vulnerability to opioid addiction.

Google Scholar page

Swain, Y, Muelken, P, LeSage, MG, Gewirtz, JC & Harris, AC, 2018, ‘Locomotor activity does not predict individual differences in morphine self-administration in rats’ Pharmacol Biochem Behav, vol. 166, pp. 48-56.

Pisansky, MT, Hanson, LR, Gottesman, II & Gewirtz, JC 2017, ‘Oxytocin enhances observational fear in mice’ Nat Commun, vol. 8, no. 1, p. 2102.

Kennedy, BC, Tran, PV, Kohli, M, Maertens, JJ, Gewirtz, JC & Georgieff, MK 2018, ‘Beneficial effects of postnatal choline supplementation on long-Term neurocognitive deficit resulting from fetal-Neonatal iron deficiency’ Behav Brain Res, vol. 336, pp. 40-43.

Kennedy, BC, Kohli, M, Maertens, JJ, Marell, PS & Gewirtz, JC 2016, ‘Conditioned object preference: an alternative approach to measuring reward learning in rats’ Learn Mem, vol. 23, no. 11, pp. 623-630.

Kennedy, BC, Dimova, JG, Dakoji, S, Yuan, LL, Gewirtz, JC & Tran, PV 2016, ‘Deletion of novel protein TMEM35 alters stress-related functions and impairs long-term memory in mice’ Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, vol. 311, no. 1, pp. R166-78.

Engelmann, JM, Versace, F, Gewirtz, JC & Cinciripini, PM 2016, ‘Individual differences in brain responses to cigarette-related cues and pleasant stimuli in young smokers’ Drug Alcohol Depend, vol. 163, pp. 229-35.

Tran, PV, Kennedy, BC, Pisansky, MT, Won, KJ, Gewirtz, JC, Simmons, RA & Georgieff, MK 2016, ‘Prenatal Choline Supplementation Diminishes Early-Life Iron Deficiency-Induced Reprogramming of Molecular Networks Associated with Behavioral Abnormalities in the Adult Rat Hippocampus’ J Nutr, vol. 146, no. 3, pp. 484-93.

Rao, R, Ennis, K, Mitchell, EP, Tran, PV & Gewirtz, JC 2016, ‘Recurrent Moderate Hypoglycemia Suppresses Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Expression in the Prefrontal Cortex and Impairs Sensorimotor Gating in the Posthypoglycemic Period in Young Rats’ Dev Neurosci, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 74-82.

McBrayer, ZL, Dimova, J, Pisansky, MT, Sun, M, Beppu, H, Gewirtz, JC & O'Connor, MB 2015, ‘Forebrain-Specific Loss of BMPRII in Mice Reduces Anxiety and Increases Object Exploration’ PLoS One, vol.10, no. 10, p. e0139860.

Sweis, BM, Bachour, SP, Brekke, JA, Gewirtz, JC, Sadeghi-Bazargani, H, Hevesi, M & Divani, AA 2016, ‘A modified beam-walking apparatus for assessment of anxiety in a rodent model of blast traumatic brain injury’ Behav Brain Res, vol. 296, pp. 149-156.