Tamara Fitzwater

Tamara Fitzwater

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences

Specialty:Behavioral Neuroscience; Research on consequences of alcohol exposure during adolescence
Office:119J Williams Hall
Ithaca, NY 14850


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
  • Laboratory in Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Senior Seminar in Neuroscience
  • Research Team

Selected Publications: (Publishing under Doremus-Fitzwater)

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

Doremus-Fitzwater TL, Gano A, Paniccia JE & Deak T. (2015). Male adolescent rats display blunted cytokine responses in the CNS after acute ethanol or lipopolysaccharide exposure. Physiology and Behavior (148):131-144.

Doremus-Fitzwater TL, Buck HM, Bordner KA, Richey L, Jones ME & Deak T. (2014). Intoxication- and withdrawal-dependent expression of proinflammatory cytokines in the CNS during initial alcohol exposure. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 38(8):2186-98.

Deak T, Okrainets A & Doremus-Fitzwater TL. (2012). Mechanisms of stress-dependent neuroinflammation and their implications for understanding consequences of alcohol exposure. In Neural-immune interactions in brain function and alcohol related disorders, (Cui C, Grandison L, Noronha A Eds), pp 133-166. Springer, New York.

Doremus-Fitzwater TL, Barreto M & Spear LP. (2012). Age-related differences in impulsivity between adolescent and adult Sprague-Dawley rats. Behavioral Neuroscience 126(5):735-41.

Doremus-Fitzwater TL, Varlinskaya EI & Spear LP. (2010). Motivational systems in adolescence: Possible implications for age differences in substance abuse and other risk-taking behaviors. Brain and Cognition 72(1): 114-23.

Doremus-Fitzwater TL & Spear LP. (2007). Developmental differences in acute ethanol withdrawal in adolescent and adult rats. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 31(9): 1-12


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