Jonathan Gewirtz, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychology

Jonathan Gewirtz

Contact Info

Office Address:
Department of Psychology
N246 Elliot Hall
75 E River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor, Department of Psychology

Center for Neurobehavioral Development

Doctoral Degree, Yale University, 1998


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.

Professional Associations

Member - Society for Neuroscience; Pavlovian Society; College on Problems of Drug Dependence


Research Summary/Interests

Research Projects

  • Newborn iron deficiency: NICHD, 2005 - 2014
  • Neonatal Anemia and Thrombocytopenia: NHLBI, 2011 - 2015

Research Interests

  • Neural substrates of memory
  • Neural substrates of negative affect
  • Neural substrates of drug dependency
  • Drug dependence
  • Fear conditioning
  • Memory
  • Neural substrates of emotion


For more publications, see PubMed.

  • 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.



Psy 1001 - Introduction to Psychology; Psy 3061 - Introduction to Biopsychology; Psy 8061 - Neuropsychopharmacology