Jonathan C Gewirtz

Photo of Jonathan C Gewirtz

Contact Me
612 6256653

Dept of Psychology
N246 Elliott Hall

75 E River Rd


  • Neural substrates of memory
  • Neural substrates of negative affect
  • Neural substrates of drug dependency

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.

Through collaborations in the Medical School, we also study the cognitive and affective consequences of abnormal brain development. Much of this research has centered on the effects of prenatal brain iron deficiency. Currently, we are also seeking to develop new mouse genetic models of autism and schizophrenia.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Yale University, 1998.


  • drug dependence
  • fear conditioning
  • memory
  • neural substrates of emotion
Courses Taught
  • Psy 1001 - Introduction to Psychology
  • Psy 3061 - Introduction to Biopsychology
  • Psy 8061 - Neuropsychopharmacology
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Member: Society for Neuroscience; Pavlovian Society; College on Problems of Drug Dependence
  • Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Psychology: 2011


  • Neural substrates of anxiety in acute opiate dependence: NIDA, 2006 - 2009
  • Newborn iron deficiency: NICHD, 2005 - 2014
  • Neonatal Anemia and Thrombocytopenia: NHLBI, 2011 - 2015
  • Radke, A.K., Rothwell, P.E., & Gewirtz, J.C. (2011). An anatomical basis for opponent process mechanisms of opiate withdrawal. Journal of Neuroscience, 31, 7533–7539.
  • Rothwell, P.E., Gewirtz, J.C., & Thomas, M.J. (2010). Episodic Withdrawal Promotes Psychomotor Sensitization to Morphine. Neuropsychopharmacology, 35, 2579-2589.
  • Burman, M.A., Hamilton, K.L., & Gewirtz, J.C. (2010). Role of corticosterone in trace and delay conditioned fear-potentiated startle in Rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, 124, 294-299.
  • Sun, M., Gewirtz, J.C., Bofenkamp, L., Wickham, R.J., Ge, H., O’Connor, M.B. (2010). Canonical TGF-? signaling is required for the balance of excitatory/inhibitory transmission within the hippocampus and prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 6025-6035.
  • Gewirtz, J.C., Hamilton, K.L., Babu, M.A., Wobken, J.D., Georgieff, M.K. (2008). Effects of gestational iron deficiency on fear conditioning in juvenile and adult rats. Brain Research, 1237, 195-203.