Research Summary

Collectively, the broad, long-term objective of my laboratory is to gain mechanistic insight into how interrelated processes, namely DNA repair, chromatin regulation, and transcriptional regulation, affect normal brain physiology and disorders. More specifically, we investigate mechanisms of chromosomal DNA double-strand break formation and repair in neural stem/progenitor cells and other neural cell types in the contexts of neurodevelopment, neural functioning, diversity, and disease. In the latter context, a major current focus is the elucidation of causes of genome instability and chromosomal rearrangements in neural progenitors that give rise to medulloblastoma and other brain cancers.


University of Heidelberg, Germany, MD, 11/03 Medicine
University of Heidelberg, Germany, PhD, 07/05, Tumor Virology
Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, UCSF, Postdoctoral Fellow, 01/07, Mitochondrial metabolism, Sirtuin biology
Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine & Division of Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital and Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, Research Fellow, 06/10, DNA repair, Chromatin, Sirtuin biology

Honors & Awards

  • 2001
    Biomedical Exchange Program/DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Fellowship
  • 2005
    Doctoral thesis awarded "summa cum laude", University of Heidelberg
  • 2006
    Sandler Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award in Basic Sciences, UCSF Sandler Program in Basic Sciences
  • 2008
    Ellison Medical Foundation/AFAR Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
  • 2012
    NIH Career Development Award
  • 2013
    Martin D. Abeloff V Scholar Award, The V Foundation for Cancer Research
  • 2016, 2017
    UCSF Brain Tumor SPORE Career Development Program Award
  • 2017
    Suzanne Marie Haderle and Robert Vincent Haderle Endowed Chair, UCSF
  • 2017
    Kimmel Scholar, Sidney Kimmel Foundation
  • 2019
    Keynote Lecture, Annual Research Symposium, Charbonneau Cancer Institute, University of Calgary, Canada
  • 2021
    Carol and Gene Ludwig Award for Early Career Research
  • 2021
    Investigator Award, Bakar Aging Research Institute (BARI)

Selected Publications

  1. Schmidt C, Cohen S, Gudenas BL, Husain S, Carlson A, Westelman S, Wang L, Phillips JJ, Northcott PA, Weiss WA, Schwer B. PRDM6 promotes medulloblastoma by repressing chromatin accessibility and altering gene expression. bioRxiv. 2023 Aug 31.  View on PubMed
  2. Christin Schmidt, Sarah Husain, Annika Carlson, Sarah Cohen, Samantha Westelman, Linyu Wang, William Weiss, Bjoern Schwer. MDB-09. IMPACT OF PRDM6 ON CHROMATIN ACCESSIBILITY, GENE EXPRESSION, AND MEDULLOBLASTOMA FORMATION. Neuro-Oncology. 2023 Jun 12; 25(Suppl 1):i63-i63.  View on PubMed
  3. Escoubas CC, Dorman LC, Nguyen PT, Lagares-Linares C, Nakajo H, Anderson SR, Cuevas B, Vainchtein ID, Silva NJ, Xiao Y, Lidsky PV, Wang EY, Taloma SE, Nakao-Inoue H, Schwer B, Andino R, Nowakowski TJ, Molofsky AV. Type I interferon responsive microglia shape cortical development and behavior. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 20.  View on PubMed
  4. Christin Schmidt, Sarah Husain, Annika Carlson, Sarah Cohen, Samantha Westelman, Linyu Wang, William Weiss, Bjoern Schwer. MODL-32. IMPACT OF PRDM6 ON CHROMATIN ACCESSIBILITY, GENE EXPRESSION, AND MEDULLOBLASTOMA FORMATION. Neuro-Oncology. 2022 Nov 14; 24(Supplement_7):vii297-vii298.  View on PubMed
  5. Thongthip S, Carlson A, Crossley MP, Schwer B. Relationships between genome-wide R-loop distribution and classes of recurrent DNA breaks in neural stem/progenitor cells. Sci Rep. 2022 08 04; 12(1):13373.  View on PubMed
  6. Fuchs J, Schwer B, El-Khamisy SF. Editorial: Genomic Instability and Neurodegeneration. Front Aging Neurosci. 2022; 14:940459.  View on PubMed
  7. Chuntova P, Hou Y, Naka R, Yamamichi A, Chen T, Goretsky Y, Hatae R, Nejo T, Kohanbash G, Mende AL, Montoya M, Downey KM, Diebold D, Skinner J, Liang HE, Schwer B, Okada H. Novel EGFRvIII-CAR transgenic mice for rigorous preclinical studies in syngeneic mice. Neuro Oncol. 2022 02 01; 24(2):259-272.  View on PubMed
  8. Cheng YC, Snavely A, Barrett LB, Zhang X, Herman C, Frost DJ, Riva P, Tochitsky I, Kawaguchi R, Singh B, Ivanis J, Huebner EA, Arvanites A, Oza V, Davidow L, Maeda R, Sakuma M, Grantham A, Wang Q, Chang AN, Pfaff K, Costigan M, Coppola G, Rubin LL, Schwer B, Alt FW, Woolf CJ. Topoisomerase I inhibition and peripheral nerve injury induce DNA breaks and ATF3-associated axon regeneration in sensory neurons. Cell Rep. 2021 09 07; 36(10):109666.  View on PubMed
  9. Christin Schmidt, Annika Carlson, William Weiss, Bjoern Schwer. BIOL-11. THE ROLE OF ABERRANT EXPRESSION OF PRDM6 IN THE DEVELOPING CEREBELLUM AND IN GROUP 4 MEDULLOBLASTOMA. Neuro-Oncology. 2021 Jun 1; 23(Suppl 1):i5-i5.  View on PubMed
  10. Christin Schmidt, Albertas Navickas, Frederique Zindy, Dana Farmer, Davide Ruggero, Hani Goodarzi, Martine F Roussel, Bjoern Schwer, William Weiss. OMIC-03. TRANSLATIONAL CONTROL IN MYC AND MYCN MEDULLOBLASTOMA. Neuro-Oncology. 2021 Jun 1; 23(Suppl 1):i37-i37.  View on PubMed
  11. Christin Schmidt, Annika Carlson, William Weiss, Bjoern Schwer. TMOD-28. NEW APPROACHES FOR ELUCIDATING MEDULLOBLASTOMA DEVELOPMENT VIA HINDBRAIN BLASTOCYST COMPLEMENTATION. Neuro-Oncology. 2020 Nov 9; 22(Supplement_2):ii233-ii234.  View on PubMed
  12. Dai HQ, Liang Z, Chang AN, Chapdelaine-Williams AM, Alvarado B, Pollen AA, Alt FW, Schwer B. Direct analysis of brain phenotypes via neural blastocyst complementation. Nat Protoc. 2020 10; 15(10):3154-3181.  View on PubMed
  13. Chang AN, Liang Z, Dai HQ, Chapdelaine-Williams AM, Andrews N, Bronson RT, Schwer B, Alt FW. Neural blastocyst complementation enables mouse forebrain organogenesis. Nature. 2018 11; 563(7729):126-130.  View on PubMed
  14. Alt FW, Schwer B. DNA double-strand breaks as drivers of neural genomic change, function, and disease. DNA Repair (Amst). 2018 11; 71:158-163.  View on PubMed
  15. Wei PC, Lee CS, Du Z, Schwer B, Zhang Y, Kao J, Zurita J, Alt FW. Three classes of recurrent DNA break clusters in brain progenitors identified by 3D proximity-based break joining assay. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 02 20; 115(8):1919-1924.  View on PubMed
  16. Wood JG, Schwer B, Wickremesinghe PC, Hartnett DA, Burhenn L, Garcia M, Li M, Verdin E, Helfand SL. Sirt4 is a mitochondrial regulator of metabolism and lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 02 13; 115(7):1564-1569.  View on PubMed
  17. Garinis GA, Schwer B, Schumacher B. Editorial: DNA damage & immunity. Mech Ageing Dev. 2017 07; 165(Pt A):1-2.  View on PubMed
  18. Frederick W. Alt, Pei-Chi Wei, Bjoern Schwer. Recurrently Breaking Genes in Neural Progenitors: Potential Roles of DNA Breaks in Neuronal Function, Degeneration and Cancer. Genome Editing in Neurosciences. 2017 Jan 1; 63-72.  View on PubMed
  19. Schwer B, Wei PC, Chang AN, Kao J, Du Z, Meyers RM, Alt FW. Transcription-associated processes cause DNA double-strand breaks and translocations in neural stem/progenitor cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Feb 23; 113(8):2258-63.  View on PubMed
  20. Wei PC, Chang AN, Kao J, Du Z, Meyers RM, Alt FW, Schwer B. Long Neural Genes Harbor Recurrent DNA Break Clusters in Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells. Cell. 2016 Feb 11; 164(4):644-55.  View on PubMed

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