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Meet the Herman Lab


James Herman, PhD – Professor & Chair Pharmacology and Systems Physiology

Dr. Herman earned his B.S. in Chemistry/Psychology at Hobart College and his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester (Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy). His postdoctoral work was performed at the Mental Health Research Institute ( University of Michigan). He began his academic career in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Kentucky, where he was an Associate Professor and the James and Barbara Holsinger Chair of Anatomy and Neurobiology. Dr. Herman joined the University of Cincinnati faculty in 2000 and is currently the Flor van Maanen Chair and Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Physiology. He also riects the University of Cincinnati Neurobiology Research Center and serves as Associate Director of the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute.  He  was the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Research Professor award (STEMM) from the University of Cincinnati, and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from the International Society for Psychoneuroendocrinology. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Stress, an international journal that publishes basic and clinical studies focused on biological aspects of stress. He has also served on several editorial boards, advisory boards and national and international grant review panels.  Dr. Herman’s major research interests include structural, functional and molecular biological principles underlying brain stress integration, with an emphasis on delineating mechanisms linking stress with mental illness, neurological disorders and metabolic disease.  He has made major contributions to our understanding of the role of limbic neurocircuitry in stress adaptation and stress-related pathologies, and has applied to state-of-the-art approaches to delineate molecular mechanisms underlying stress hormone signaling in the brain.

Nawshaba Nawreen

Nawshaba Nawreen– Graduate Student

Hi! My name is Nawshaba Nawreen and I am a graduate student in the Herman lab. My research focuses on understanding inhibitory mechanisms in the prefrontal cortex in stress related disorders. I am investigating the role of GABA-ergic parvalbumin interneurons in stress. To answer experimental questions, I use a variety of techniques including behavioral assays, immunohistochemistry, bioinformatics and in-vitro electrophysiology to study neural circuits affected by stress. My goal in life is to find better and more effective treatments for neurological illnesses.  In my free time I like going out with my friends and trying out new foods. My hobbies are cooking, dancing and listening to music. Feel free to connect with me on twitter:  
Marissa Smail

Marissa Smail – Graduate Student

I am a PhD Candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at UC.  My research primarily focuses on understanding the molecular neurobiology of enrichment loss.  Psychological loss occurs when something valued, such as a relationship, job, or health, is taken away.  Nearly everyone experiences loss at some point, and it can precipitate depression, yet little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying this experience.  Our lab simulates loss in rodents using enrichment removal, which generates behavioral phenotypes reminiscent of loss in humans, including weight gain and passive coping.  Using a multi-omics approach and bioinformatics, I identified phenotypes of immune and cell-matrix dysregulation in the basolateral amygdala of male rats.  Currently, I am using a range of complementary benchwork techniques to further explore the role of microglia and the extracellular matrix in enrichment removal, with the long-term goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets to ameliorate the negative effects of loss.  Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking and exploring Cincinnati.


Anthony Glorius – Graduate Student

I am a PhD Candidate in the Systems Biology and Physiology program at the University of Cincinnati.  My proposed research primarily focuses on understanding the neural circuitry mediating stress induced grooming behaviors as a potential mechanism for stress buffering. Psychological stress is experienced by numerous individuals on a daily basis, but for individuals with anxiety-based disorders (such as OCD) can have significant disruptions to their daily life.  Despite the prevalence of anxiety disorders many treatment plans are lacking for individuals with the disorders and it is important to determine the circuitry in these pathways so that better interventions can be developed. Currently my work focuses on immunofluorescent methodologies to examine pathways which may mediate stress resilience. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, camping and attending local sporting events.  


James (Brad) Chambers, PhD – Research Assistant

I came to the University of Cincinnati in 2002 as a postdoc in the lab of Dr. Randy Seeley, then managed the UC Psychiatry Dept. Behavior Core with Dr. Stephen Benoit, and maintained a transgenic rat colony for Dr. Shailendra Patel. In Dr. Herman’s lab I am now applying my knowledge of behavioral assays as those behaviors relate to physiological responses to stress. I’m a proud alum of Florida State University (PhD Neuroscience) and the University of North Carolina Charlotte (BA Psychology).

Research Staff:

Ben Packard, Lab Manager

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Department of
Pharmacology and Systems Physiology

College of Medicine
231 Albert Sabin Way
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0575

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