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Minae Niwa, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Minae Niwa, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Research Interests: Behavioral science; Neuropsychopharmacology; Animal models; Neural networks; Cognitive neuroscience; Brain diseases; Endocrinology; Epigenetics



  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Departments / Divisions



  • Ph.D., Nagoya Natl University - School of Medicine - Showa-Ku - Nagoya - (Japan) (2007)

Additional Training

  • Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan, Psychiatry (2009)
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, Psychiatry (2014)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

The ultimate goal of Dr. Niwa's research program is to understand the biological mechanisms by which the endocrine system controls the developmental trajectory of brain and behavior. We determine how neuroendocrinological changes induced by psychosocial stress alter neuronal function and connectivity in the brain, and dissect the mechanisms from the cellular level to circuitry and behavior, utilizing Dr. Niwa's strong background in preclinical behavioral neuroscience, neuropsychopharmacology, and molecular neurobiology.

Technology Expertise Keywords

Neuron; Neuropsychopharmacology; Animal behavior; Neural circuit; Epigenetics; Psychiatric disorders

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Niwa M, Nitta A, Yamada Y, Nakajima A, Saito K, Seishima M, Shen L, Noda Y, Furukawa S, Nabeshima T. An inducer for glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor and tumor necrosis factor-alpha protects against methamphetamine-induced rewarding effects and sensitization. Biol Psychiatry. 2007;61(7):890-901. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.06.016. PubMed PMID: 17046726

Niwa M, Kamiya A, Murai R, Kubo K, Gruber AJ, Tomita K, Lu L, Tomisato S, Jaaro-Peled H, Seshadri S, Hiyama H, Huang B, Kohda K, Noda Y, O'Donnell P, Nakajima K, Sawa A, Nabeshima T. Knockdown of DISC1 by in utero gene transfer disturbs postnatal dopaminergic maturation in the frontal cortex and leads to adult behavioral deficits. Neuron. 2010;65(4):480-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.01.019. PubMed PMID: 20188653; PMCID: PMC3084528. Video Abstract

Niwa M, Jaaro-Peled H, Tankou S, Seshadri S, Hikida T, Matsumoto Y, Cascella NG, Kano S, Ozaki N, Nabeshima T, Sawa A. Adolescent stress-induced epigenetic control of dopaminergic neurons via glucocorticoids. Science. 2013;339(6117):335-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1226931. PubMed PMID: 23329051; PMCID: PMC3617477

Niwa M, Lee RS, Tanaka T, Okada K, Kano S, Sawa A. A critical period of vulnerability to adolescent stress: epigenetic mediators in mesocortical dopaminergic neurons. Hum Mol Genet. 2016;25(7):1370-81. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddw019. PubMed PMID: 26908623; PMCID: PMC4787906

Niwa M, Cash-Padgett T, Kubo KI, Saito A, Ishii K, Sumitomo A, Taniguchi Y, Ishizuka K, Jaaro-Peled H, Tomoda T, Nakajima K, Sawa A, Kamiya A. DISC1 a key molecular lead in psychiatry and neurodevelopment: No-More Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1. Mol Psychiatry. 2016;21(11):1488-9. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.154. PubMed PMID: 27595595

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
600 North Wolfe Street
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Meyer Building
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-614-1780

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