Schwarz lab @ St. Jude


Understanding how neuromodulatory circuit organization contributes to diverse behaviors and disease



Our brains must constantly process a wide variety of stimuli from our environment to generate behavioral responses. In large part, this is regulated by one of the brain’s smallest nuclei, the Locus Coeruleus (LC). Through release of norepinephrine (NE), the LC modulates numerous behaviors, including regulation of sleep/wake states, increasing attention and memory, and regulation of stress and pain response.   

Our lab is interested in identifying and characterizing novel mechanisms that regulate the function of the LC-NE circuit in vivo, towards understanding how LC-related brain circuits help to generate distinct behaviors depending on the situation.

Projects in the lab currently focus on:

  • identifying molecular and anatomical heterogeneity in LC-related brain circuits

  • visualizing patterns of neural activity in LC-related circuits during diverse behaviors

  • exploring the relationship between arousal and respiratory brain regions

  • determining how changes in LC-related brain circuits contribute to neurological disease

To address these questions, we use a wide array of approaches, including viral tracing, next-generation sequencing, in vivo imaging, and optogenetics.



St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

St. Jude is home to a large number of renowned research labs, performing cutting edge work in a variety of scientific disciplines, such as oncology, immunology, structural biology, and neuroscience.  The research culture at St. Jude is diverse, collaborative, and innovative, with a strong emphasis on providing outstanding institutional support so that researchers can focus on their science. Our lab is part of the Developmental Neurobiology department, which conducts basic science research on a wide range of topics such as early cell fate decisions, neuronal migration, control of neuronal cell death and regeneration, synaptic physiology, and neural circuit function. We are also part of the newly formed Division of Neural Circuits and Behavior, which provides specialized departmental resources for our studies.


LINDSAY SCHWARZ Assistant Member

Ph.D., UCSD (Patrick lab)

Postdoc, Stanford University (Luo lab)


ALEX HUGHES, Graduate Student Biomedical Sciences, St. Jude CRH



HOLLIE SANDERS Research Technologist

M.S., University of DE (Stanton lab)




Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin (Delville lab)

lina(dot)gonzalezmartinez(at)stjude (dot)org

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CAMERON OGG Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D., UTHSC (Fletcher lab)



SOFIA PAVLOU, visiting student University of Bath



Lauma Sarkane, visiting student, University of Bath (2018-2019)

Mailys Ayerdi, visiting student, Universitè Paris Diderot (2018)

Jesse Gammons, Graduate Student, UTHSC (2017-2019)


Lauma’s last day, Aug, 2019.

Lauma’s last day, Aug, 2019.

SEPT 2019: Welcome to Sofia Pavlou (visiting student from University of Bath)

AUGUST 2019: Lindsay receives a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

JULY 2019: Welcome to Lina González Martínez (postdoc)

APRIL 2019: Congrats Alex on passing your quals!

SEPT 2018: Welcome to Lauma Sarkane (visiting student from University of Bath)

JULY 2018: Welcome to Alex Hughes (St. Jude grad student)

JUN 2018: Lindsay receives a Scholar Award from the Rita Allen Foundation

APRIL 2018: Welcome to Mailys Ayerdi (visiting student with Paris7 program)


We're looking for bright, collaborative, and rigorous scientists to join our group.  To apply for a position, please send the information requested below to:  

post docs

Applicants must have completed or be nearing completion of a Ph.D. in neuroscience, biology, or related fields. We're especially interested in candidates with expertise in optogenetics, animal behavior, in vivo imaging, or genome sequencing.  To apply, please send a CV, a description of your current and future research interests, and contact info (phone# and email) for 3 references. St. Jude offers generous training and support for postdoctoral fellows.  To learn more, click here.

grad students

Apply to our new graduate school program!

We're happy to discuss research opportunities with incoming or current graduate students of St. Jude or University of Tennessee Health Science Center.




Yackle, K, Schwarz LA, Kam K, Sorokin JM, Huguenard JR, Feldman JL, Luo L, Krasnow MA. (2017) Breathing control center neurons that promote arousal in mice. Science. 355: 1411-15.

Huang WH*, Guenthner CJ*, Xu J*, Nguyen N, Schwarz LA, Wilkinson AW, Gozani O, Chang HY, Shamloo M, Luo L. (2016) Molecular and neural functions of Rai1, the causal gene for Smith-Magenis Syndrome. Neuron. 92(2): 392-406.

Gong H, Xu D, Yuan J, Li X, Guo C, Peng J, Li Y, Schwarz LA, Li A, Hu B, Xiong B, Sun Q, Zhang Y, Liu J, Zhong Q, Xu T, Zeng S, Luo Q. (2016) High-throughput dual-color precision imaging for brain-wide mapping of the connectome using cytoarchitectonic landmarks at the cellular level. Nat. Commun. 7(12142).

Schwarz LA, Luo L. (2015) Organization of the locus coeruleus norepinephrine system. Current Biology. 25(21): 1051-56.

Schwarz LA*, Miyamichi KM*, Gao XJ, Beier KT, Weissbourd B, DeLoach KE, Ren J, Ibanes S, Malenka RC, Kramer EJ, Luo L. (2015) Viral-genetic tracing of the input-output organization of a central norepinephrine circuit. Nature. 524(7563): 88-92.

Beier KT, Steinberg EE, DeLoach KE, Xie S, Miyamichi KM, Schwarz LA, Gao XJ, Kremer EJ, Malenka RC, Luo L. (2015) Circuit architecture of VTA dopamine neurons revealed by systematic input-output mapping. Cell. 162(3): 622-34.

Scudder SL, Goo MS, Cartier AE, Molteni A, Schwarz, LA, Wright R, Patrick, GN (2014) Synaptic strength is bidirectionally controlled by opposing activity-dependent regulation of Nedd4-1 and USP8. J. Neurosci. 34(50): 16637-49.

Schwarz LA, Patrick, GN (2011) Role of ubiquitination in regulating the endocytosis and intercellular trafficking of surface proteins in the nervous system. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 49(3): 387-93.

Schwarz LA, Hall BJ, Patrick GN (2010) Activity-dependent ubiquitination of GluA1 mediates a distinct AMPAR endocytosis and sorting pathway. J. Neurosci. 30(49):16718-29.

Djakovic SN, Schwarz LA, Barylko B, DeMartino GN, Patrick GN (2009) Regulation of the proteasome by neuronal activity and Calcium/Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II. J Biol Chem. 284(39):26655-65.


mailing address:

Schwarz lab

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

262 Danny Thomas Place, DTRC 2062

Memphis, TN, 38105

phone: 901-595-1133

email: lindsay(dot)schwarz(at)

We are very grateful for funding from:

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