Jared Schwartzer, Ph.D.

Autism Research Training

Jared Schwartzer's postdoctoral training focused on the use of mouse models of autism spectrum disorders to study neural-immune interactions. While engaging in an intensive two-year, interdisciplinary autism training program at one of the nation’s leading research institutes for neurodevelopmental disorders, Dr. Schwartzer developed the leadership and discipline necessary to manage a mouse behavioral research program. Under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Berman, Dr. Schwartzer established a new rat behavioral phenotyping core at the University of California, Davis, to assess affective, cognitive, social, and motor deficits in rodent models of disease. Concurrently, he began collaborations with Dr. Paul Ashwood, to study the complex field of immunology. Together, Dr. Schwartzer's extensive training bridges the tools and techniques used in immunology and animal behavior, allowing him to design and implement studies in neuroimmunology. 

Neurobiology and Brain Development

Dr. Schwartzer's initial enthusiasm for brain development and social behavior stems from his fascination with the behavioral and neurobiological changes during adolescence. Under the direction of Dr. Richard Melloni, Program in Behavioral Neuroscience, Northeastern University, Dr. Schwartzer used the Syrian Hamster as a rodent model for adolescent development to explore the behavioral and biological effects of androgens (testosterone and other anabolic/androgenic steroids) on adolescent social behavior. This research revealed that increases in androgen hormone levels, such as those produced by performance enhancing steroid, shift an animal’s social responses towards a highly aggressive and offensive phenotype, analogous to the impulsive aggression seen in clinical settings. In an attempt to elucidate the neural systems that emerge in response to developmental androgen exposure, Dr. Schwartzer and Dr. Melloni identified cellular changes in dopaminergic and GABAergic connections within the hypothalamus and utilized surgical and pharmacological techniques to manipulate these neural circuits in an attempt to alter behavioral outputs.