Neal R. Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D. 

Professor of Psychiatry
Director, Psychiatry Research Residency Track
Vice Chair, Education & Training

Research Residency Track


Contact Information

T: (619) 543-2493


Neal Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Psychiatry, Director of the Research Residency Track and Vice Chair of Education and Training in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. Dr. Swerdlow graduated Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Amherst College (Neuroscience) in 1981, received his M.D. and Ph.D. (Neuroscience) from UCSD in 1986, completed the UCSD Psychiatry Residency Program and joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry in 1991. Since that time, he has been continuously NIH-funded, was Director of the Psychiatry Core Clerkship for 17 years, and directed separate clinical programs in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Huntington's Disease (HD).

Research Focus

Dr. Swerdlow has published over 250 peer-reviewed research papers, 35 chapters and 1 book. His laboratories study the neural regulation of information processing and its deficiencies in schizophrenia, TS and OCD, and have been home to many dozens of students, from undergraduates to Fellows. Dr. Swerdlow’s career has focused heavily on service to our field and patients. For 10 years, he chaired the Tourette Syndrome Association Scientific Advisory Board, he served the San Diego NAMI for 10 years as a member of their Board of Directors and Chair of their Medical Advisory Board, has been a Program Chair for the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, chaired and sat on many NIH review committees, was Associate Editor of Behavioral Neuroscience and Editorial Board member of several high-impact journals in our field. Neal is a past recipient of the APA Award for Research in Psychiatry, the ACNP Joel Elkes Award, APA Kempf Award, NAMI Judith Silver Award, TSA Champion of Children's Award, and ACP Laughlin Fellowship, among other awards.


  • Swerdlow NR, Light GA, Sprock J, et al. Deficient prepulse inhibition in schizophrenia detected by the multi-site COGS. Schizophrenia Research 152:503-12, 2013.
  • Swerdlow NR,, Powell SB, Breier MR, Hines SR, Light GA. Coupling of gene expression in medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens after neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions accompanies deficits in sensorimotor gating and auditory processing in rats. Neuropharmacology 75C: 38-46, 2013
  • Swerdlow NR,. Are we studying and treating schizophrenia correctly? Schiz Research 130: 1-10, 2011
  • Swerdlow NR,, Weber M, Qu Y, et al. Realistic expectations of prepulse inhibition in translational models for schizophrenia research. Psychopharm 199:331-88, 2008
  • Swerdlow NR,, Light GA, Cadenhead KC, et al. Startle gating deficits in a large cohort of patients with schizophrenia: Relationship to medications, symptoms, neurocognition and level of function. Arch Gen Psychiatry 63: 1325-1335, 2006
  • Swerdlow NR,, Krupin AS, Bongiovanni MJ, Shoemaker JM, Goins JC, Hammer Jr. RP. Heritable differences in the dopaminergic regulation of behavior in rats: Relationship to D2-like receptor G protein function. Neuropsychopharm 31: 506-513, 2006
  • Swerdlow NR,, Geyer MA, Braff DL. Neural circuit regulation of prepulse inhibition of startle in the rat: Current knowledge and future challenges. Psychopharm 156: 194-215, 2001
  • Swerdlow NR,, Martinez ZA, Hanlon FM, et al. Toward understanding the biology of a complex phenotype: Rat strain and substrain differences in the sensorimotor gating-disruptive effects of dopamine agonists. J Neuroscience 20: 4325-4336, 2000
  • Swerdlow NR,, Hartston HJ, Hartman PL. Enhanced visual latent inhibition in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Biol Psychiatry 45: 482-488, 1999
  • Swerdlow NR,, Magulac M, Filion D, Zinner S. Visuospatial priming and latent inhibition in children and adults with Tourette’s Disorder. Neuropsychology 10: 485-494, 1996
  • Swerdlow NR,, Lipska BK, Weinberger DR, et al. Increased sensitivity to the sensorimotor gating-disruptive effects of apomorphine after lesions of medial prefrontal cortex or ventral hippocampus in adult rats. Psychopharm 122: 27-34, 1995
  • Swerdlow NR,, Paulsen J, Braff DL, Butters N, Geyer MA, Swenson MR. Impaired prepulse inhibition of acoustic and tactile startle response in patients with Huntington's Disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 58: 192-200, 1995
  • Swerdlow NR,, Braff DL, Taaid N, Geyer MA. Assessing the validity of an animal model of deficient sensorimotor gating in schizophrenic patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry 51:139-154, 1994
  • Swerdlow NR,, Koob GF. Dopamine, schizophrenia, mania and depression: Toward a unified hypothesis of cortico-striato-pallido-thalamic function. Behav Brain Sci 10, 197-245, 1987
  • Swerdlow NR,, Geyer MA, Vale WW, Koob GF. Corticocotropin releasing factor potentiates acoustic startle in rats: blockade by chlordiazepoxide. Psychopharm 88, 147-152, 1986