Tamara Fitzwater

Assistant Professor, Psychology
Office: Williams Hall, room 119E
Speciality: Behavioral Neuroscience; Research on consequences of alcohol exposure during adolescence


Ph.D., Binghamton University, Behavioral Neuroscience (2008)

M.A., Binghamton University, Psychology (2004)

B.S., Cornell University, Animal Science (2001)

Research Interests:

Adolescence is an evolutionarily conserved developmental phase that is characterized by hormonal, physiological, neural, and behavioral changes. Importantly, these adolescent-typical traits appear to be highly conserved across mammalian species. Adolescent rodents, in particular, exhibit many similarities to their human counterparts including increases in peer-directed social interactions, risk-taking/novelty seeking, and drug and alcohol consumption when compared to adults. My research uses an animal model of adolescence to investigate the effects of alcohol—and in particular alcohol withdrawal—on brain, hormones, and behavior. Most recently, my laboratory has been investigating how withdrawal from repeated, intermittent, binge-like alcohol exposure affects coping-, displacement-, and anxiety-related behaviors in adolescent compared to adult rats. We also explore the interaction between stress exposure and alcohol intoxication/withdrawal during these two developmental periods, while using plasma concentrations of stress hormone and  activiation/expression of immediately early genes in relevant brain structures to probe potential mechanisms driving these age-related differences in responsiveness to alcohol.


  • Behavioral Neuroscience, Lecture
  • ICSM--Learning about Drugs and the Brain
  • Senior Seminar in Neuroscience
  • Research Team

Selected Publications: (Publishing under Doremus-Fitzwater)

     Doremus-Fitzwater TL & Deak T. (in press, Aug 2021). Adolescent neuroimmune function and its interaction with alcohol. International Review of Neurobiology.

     Doremus-Fitzwater TL, Youngentob SL, Youngentob L, Gano A, Vore AS & Deak T. (2020). Lingering effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on basal and ethanol-evoked expression of inflammatory-related genes in the CNS of adolescent and adult rats. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 14: 82. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2020.00082.

     Gano A, Mondello JE, Doremus-Fitzwater TL & Deak T. (2019). Rapid alterations in neuroimmune gene expression after acute ethanol: Timecourse, sex differences and sensitivity to cranial surgery. Journal of Neuroimmunology337:577083. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2019.577083.

     Gano A, Pautassi RM, Doremus-Fitzwater TL, Barney TM, Vore AS & Deak T. (2019). Conditioning the neuroimmune response to ethanol using taste and environmental cues in adolescent and adult rats. Experimental Biology and Medicine 244:362-371. doi: 10.1177/1535370219831709.

     Doremus-Fitzwater TL, Paniccia JE, Gano A, Vore AS & Deak T. (2018). Differential effects of acute versus chronic stress on ethanol sensitivity: evidence for interactions on both behavioral and neuroimmune outcomes. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 70:141-156. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2018.02.009

     Vore AS, Doremus-Fitzwater TL, Gano A & Deak T. (2017). Adolescent ethanol exposure leads to stimulus-specific changes in cytokine reactivity and hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis sensitivity in adulthood. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 11:78. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00078.

      Gano A, Doremus-Fitzwater TL & Deak T. (2017). A cross-sectional comparison of ethanol-related cytokine expression in the hippocampus of young and aged Fischer 344 rats. Neurobiology of Aging 54:40-53. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.01.025.

     Gano A, Pautassi RM, Doremus-Fitzwater TL & Deak T. (2017). Conditioned effects of ethanol on the immune system. Experimental Biology and Medicine 242(7):718-730. doi: 10.1177/1535370217694097.              

     Doremus-Fitzwater TL & Spear LP. (2016). Reward-centricity and attenuated aversions: An adolescent phenotype emerging from studies in laboratory animals. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 70:121-134. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.08.015.