Biological Sciences, Lehigh University Lehigh University home page Department of Biological Sciences home page
Faculty, Biological Sciences, Lehigh University

Jennifer Swann, Ph.D.
Professor

Director of Student Success
(Arts & Sciences)
Council for Equity and Community
(Co-Chair)

Research Interest:
Behavioral Neuroscience

Iacocca Hall
111 Research Drive, D215
Bethlehem, PA 18015

610-758-5484

email Dr. Swann

Curriculum Vitae
Research

Jennifer Swann, Ph.D.My lab uses hormones and sex differences to tease out the secrets of the brain.   Simply put if the brain regulates behavior than differences in the behavior should be reflected by differences in the brain.  Males and females in a number of species display very different, sex specific behaviors, this implies that their brains are also different.  Similarly hormones, particularly steroids have dramatic effects on the expression of a number of behaviors.  In general, these effects take days to emerge and last for days allowing us to study the brain during the development and expression of the behavior.  And steroids have two different effects in the regulation of sex specific behaviors.  They “organize” the brain during development casting it as male or female, and they “activate” the brain  in adulthood to allow the expression of the behavior.

Our lab has been examining the MPN mag, a small nucleus in the caudal lateral aspects of the preoptic area, that plays a critical role in male sex behavior by integrating hormonal and pheromonal signals.  We have mapped the connections of the nucleus, identified subtle sex differences in neuronal cell type, and are working to determine the biochemical and sub cellular events that mediate steroidal regulation of male sex behavior.  At present we are exploring the role of growth factors in mediating sex specific hormone effects on connectivity.  We are also exploring the role of the olfactory system in providing efficiency that follows sexual experience.

My background includes studies in circadian rhythms. We have found  circadian influences on adult neurogenesis and apoptosis.

I also oversee novel projects initiated by high school students and undergraduates.

Professional Affiliations:

International Behavioral Neuroscience Society

Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology

  • Program Committee (1999-2001)
  • Co-Chair, Professional Development Committee

Society for College and University Planning - board member

NAACP

Publications

Wang J, Swann JM. (2014)  Connections of the magnocellualr medial preoptic nucleus (MPN mag) in male Syrian hamsters.  II The efferents. Neuroscience 274:102-18. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.05.014. Epub 2014 May 20.

Garelick T, Swann J. (2014) Testosterone regulates the density of dendritic spines in the male preoptic area.  Horm Behav. 65(3):249-53. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.01.008. Epub 2014 Jan 31.

Swann JM, Richendrfer HA, Dawson L, Nack E, Whylings J, Garelick T. (2013) Exposure to female pheromones stimulates a specific type of neuronal population in the male but not the female magnocellular division of the medial preoptic nucleus (MPN mag) of the Syrian hamster.  Horm Behav 64(3):421-9. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Jun 15.

Richendrfer HA, Swann JM. (2010) Neuronal composition of the magnocellular division of the medial preoptic nucleus (MPN mag) is sex specific in the Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus). Brain Res. 1351 () 97-103.

Smith JM, Hechtman A, Swann J. (2010) Fluctuations in cellular proliferation across the light/dark cycle in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus in the adult male Syrian hamster Neurosci Lett. 473(3):192-5.

Venditti JJ, Swann JM, Bean BS (2010) Hamster Sperm-Associated Alpha-L-Fucosidase Functions During Fertilization. Biol Reprod. 2010 82(3):572-9.

Richendrfer HA, Wetzel JA, Swann JM (2009) Temperature, peroxide concentration, and immunohistochemical staining method affects staining intensity, distribution, and background. Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol;17(6):543-6.
                                                                       
Govek EK, Swann JM. (2007) Stereological sex difference during development of the magnocelluar subdivision of the medial preoptic nucleus (MPN mag). Brain Res. 1145: 90-6.

Wang J, Swann JM. (2006) The magnocellular medial preoptic nucleus I. sources of afferent input.  Neuroscience; 141(3):1437-56.

Wood RI, Swann JM  (2005) The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in the Syrian hamster: subnuclei and connections of the posterior division.  Neuroscience.;135(1):155-79.

Swann, JM, Wang J. and Govek. EK (2003)  Introducing the MPN mag: a critical area mediating pheromonal and hormonal regulation  of  male sexual behavior. N Y Acad Sci.1007:199-210.

Govek EK, Wang J, Swann JM. (2003) Sex differences in the magnocellular subdivision of the medial preoptic nucleus in Syrian hamsters. Neuroscience.;116(2):593-8.

Swann J, Rahaman F, Bijak T, Fiber J. (2001) The main olfactory system mediates pheromone-induced fos expression in the extended amygdala and preoptic area of the male Syrian hamster.  Neuroscience: 105, 695-706.

Outreach

Bio Fair

Incepted in 2013, the Bio Fair is a hands-on educational outreach program for middle school children. Fully run by graduate students, this fair reinforces and extends the current middle school science curriculum. Various labs from Lehigh University’s Biology department are invited to create a station that represents their lab topic. These presenter’s then develop a ten minute hands-on activity to explain their research topic. These activity-based approaches help make difficult science concepts easier to understand e.g., how brain cells transmit signals, how traits are passed on from parents to children, and the importance of diet and exercise on the heart. These activities also encourage students to challenge themselves by communicating with each other, asking questions, and formulating their own ideas. As scientists, we are intrigued by the world’s fascinating complexity.  We try to convey our enthusiasm and curiosity to these middle school students in the hope of inspiring them to appreciate and question these mysteries as well. 

This fair is also designed to promote the professional development of graduate students. As a scientist, it is often hard to explain your research to a lay-person (someone not in science) and even harder to explain it to a 7th grader. Being able to explain your research to this population is a learned skill that must be constantly refined and it requires graduate students to look at the big picture. Furthermore, granting agencies (NIH, NSF, etc.) require researchers to disseminate their research to the public and the Bio Fair is the perfect opportunity for labs to satisfy this requirement.

  • Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015 Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015
  • Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015 Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015
  • Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015 Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015
  • Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015 Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015
  • Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015 Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015
  • Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015 Nazareth Intermediate School Sheep Brain demonstrations, 2015
  • Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014 Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014
  • Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014 Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014
  • Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014 Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014
  • Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014 Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014
  • Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014 Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014
  • Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014 Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014
  • Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014 Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014
  • Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014 Lehigh Valley Society for Neuroscience: Brain Party 2014
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2015 Bio Fair 2015 Bio Fair
  • 2015 Bio Fair 2015 Bio Fair
  • 2015 Bio Fair 2015 Bio Fair
  • 2015 Bio Fair 2015 Bio Fair
  • 2015 Bio Fair 2015 Bio Fair
  • 2015 Bio Fair 2015 Bio Fair
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
  • 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School 2014 Bio Fair at Broughal Middel School
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Lab Members

Cimrin BhallaCimrin Bhalla
Undergraduate Student, '17

Cimrin is currently a junior majoring in Molecular Biology and is originally from Princeton, NJ. She joined the Swann lab in the fall of 2015, and hopes to use her experience in the lab in a career in research and/or medicine. Outside of the Swann lab, Cimrin is an EMT and the Equipment Manager of Lehigh University Emergency Medical Services (LUEMS), Public Relations Chair of Admissions Ambassadors, and a member of the Indian Students Association.  

 

Joe BragueJoe Brague
Ph.D. Candidate
Integrative Biology

Joe is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Neuroscience tract of Integrative Biology at Lehigh University. He studies the molecular mechanisms guiding steroid induced changes in the brain and behavior of the Syrian hamster. He received his B.S. in Biology and Neuroscience from The University of Scranton in 2010. Joe not only has a passion for neuroscience but academic outreach and school service. In the fall 2013 academic year he was elected treasurer of the biological organization of graduate students. While in this position, he developed an outreach program designed to promote biology to underprivileged middle school children in the Lehigh community. He wrote and was awarded five internal grants to fund this project. This uplifting experience inspired him to become even more involved with leadership at Lehigh. In 2014, he was elected to the position of historian in the Graduate Student Senate (GSS), a campus wide graduate student forum. This position opened his eyes to university policy, procedures and leadership in the campus community. While holding this position, he received the Graduate Student Life Leadership award, the Graduate Student Merit award, and the GSS champion’s award. He also received the Sigma Xi Grants in aid of research for his academic excellence. He enjoyed this position so much that he ran and was elected to President of GSS in 2015. Joe and his wife Katherine currently reside in Bethlehem and have a Plott hound Murphy that they spoil rotten.

 

Clifford ZinnClifford Zinn
Undergraduate Student, '16

I am currently a senior and will be graduating Lehigh University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology. I have been a member of Dr. Swann's lab since May 2014, and have completed tasks such as analyzing behavioral videos, researching quantification methods for behavior, and  performing behavior tests for graduate students. Outside of the lab, I am an active member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, participate on the club tennis team, and enjoy spending time with friends and family. After graduating from Lehigh, I hope to attend medical school and become an emergency or pediatric physician.

 


Biological Sciences
111 Research Drive
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Phone: 610-758-3680
Fax: 610-758-4004
Email: inbios@lehigh.edu

©2015