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Welcome to the Schwarz Lab

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Recent News

Dr. Schwarz wins Delaware Neuroscientist of the Year! 

Jaclyn was named 2017 Neuroscientist of the Year by the Delaware Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). The award was presented at the annual Delaware Neuroscience Symposium and Poster Session in December.

​Schwarz Lab Undergraduate Presents at UD Summer Scholars

Undergraduate researcher, McKayla Wood (left), presents a poster featuring her work with PhD student Lexi Turano.  This project focuses on early life infection and subsequent immune challenges later in life that may impact the expression of social behavior in juvenile rats.


​Congratulations to Brittany Osborne (pictured) for receiving a University Dissertation Fellowship for 2018-2019. This prestigious award is given to students that have demonstrated the ability and promise to be a productive scholar in their doctorate program at the University of Delaware.

Also, Congratulations to Lexi Turano who received a University Graduate Fellowship for 2018-2019. This competitive fellowship is awarded to students who have shown evidence of professional commitment and potential contribution in their field of study.


About Us

​Schwarz Lab at the UD Summer Scholars Poster Session, Summer 2018. Left to right: Nicole Haas, Jaclyn Schwarz, Morgan Sherer, Brittany Osborne, McKayla Wood, and Lexi Turano.  Not Pictured: Clarissa Nowak, Mikaela Eck, Rita Patel, Shannon Wheeler, Veronica Defosse

Our lab examines how immune activation influences the brain and behavior throughout the lifespan. 

Many neuropsychiatric disorders have been linked to early-life immune activation or immune dysregulation, yet it is not known how activation of the immune system early in life can program brain and behavior.  There is constant communication between the brain and the immune system that can influence the brain and behavior. 

During certain times in life, we hypothesize that immune activation can change the trajectory of the immune cells in the periphery and in the brain to influence behavior long-term. 

If you are interested in the brain, development, and behavior, consider joining our lab and working on one of the projects listed below.


Current Lab Members:

Graduate Students:  Brittany Osborne, Morgan Sherer, Lexi Turano, and Mary Beth Bielicki

Undergraduate Students: McKayla Wood, Veronica DeFosse, Mikaela Eck, Clarissa Nowak, Rita Patel, and Shannon Wheeler 

Lab Manager: Nicole Haas

Recent Graduates: Julie Gomez (McNair Scholar, 4+1 Master's), Pragyan Khanal (McNair Scholar), Jennifer Lawrence, Gabrielle Furman, Sarah Beamish



​Flow cytometric analysis of immune molecules expressed on both  male and female mciroglia from the developing brain.

​Sex Differences in Response to Neonatal Immune Activation

We are currently funded to examine how neonatal males and females respond to activation of the immune system and what the consequences of this immune activation may be on the brain and behavior later in life.  Are males more vulnerable to immune activation early in development?  Does this vulnerability increase the risk of learning disabilities and other developmental disorders, which are more prevalent in boys than in girls?

Associated Grants / Funding:

R01MH106553 Impact of Neonatal Infection on the Development of HIppocampal Dependent Learning

R21MH101663 Sex-dependent Microglial Colonization and Vulnerability to Neonatal Infection.


​Microglia in the adult female brain.

Pregnancy, Microglia, and Postpartum Depression

​​This project examines how pregnancy impacts the immune system, and the immune cells of the brain, microglia.  It is well known that the peripheral immune system undergoes significant changes in function throughout pregnancy.  However, no one has ever examined whether pregnancy also impacts the immune cells of the brain in a similar manner and how these changes in the brain may impact the risk of depression during pregnancy or the immediate postpartum period.

Associated Grants / Funding:

NARSAD Young Investigator Award (Brain & Behavior Research Foundation) Impact of pregnancy on neuroimmune function and postpartum behaviors


​Vero cells infected with Zika Virus (ZIKV) at various concentrations. 

Impact of Zika Virus Infection on the Developing Brain

Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in pregnant women has been linked to a neurological disorder in the fetus called microcephaly; and we hypothesize this is due to robust inflammatory response to ZIKV in the fetal brain that precipitates neurological damage. The on-going experiments in our lab will examine the impact of maternal ZIKV infection on inflammation, microglial activation, and associated neural cell death in the fetal brain using a rat model of ZIKV infection. The immediate goal of these experiments is to determine whether ZIKV activates microglia within the developing fetal brain, and to identify key inflammatory and cellular targets for potential therapeutic interventions for ZIKV associated neurological disorder. Using the data obtained in these experiments, future experiments can also examine the impact of prenatal ZIKV infection on long-term neural, immune, and behavioral outcomes in infected offspring that have no overt neurological damage. 

Collaboration with Dr. Mark Parcells


Contact Us

Undergraduate students in Neuroscience, Psychology and Biology: 

If you are interested in joining the lab, send an updated resume, unofficial transcript and the following  application:  Schwarz Lab Undergraduate Interview form.docx to Dr. Schwarz at​


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