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

Selected Publications

  2. 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.  View on PubMed
  3. Chang AN, Liang Z, Dai HQ, Chapdelaine-Williams AM, Andrews N, Bronson RT, Schwer B, Alt FW Neural blastocyst complementation enables mouse forebrain organogenesis.  View on PubMed
  4. Alt FW, Schwer B DNA double-strand breaks as drivers of neural genomic change, function, and disease.  View on PubMed
  5. 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.  View on PubMed
  6. 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.  View on PubMed
  7. Garinis GA, Schwer B, Schumacher B Editorial: DNA damage & immunity.  View on PubMed
  8. 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.  View on PubMed
  9. 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.  View on PubMed
  10. 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.  View on PubMed
  11. Gostissa M, Schwer B, Chang A, Dong J, Meyers RM, Marecki GT, Choi VW, Chiarle R, Zarrin AA, Alt FW IgH class switching exploits a general property of two DNA breaks to be joined in cis over long chromosomal distances.  View on PubMed
  12. Khongkow M, Olmos Y, Gong C, Gomes AR, Monteiro LJ, Yagüe E, Cavaco TB, Khongkow P, Man EP, Laohasinnarong S, Koo CY, Harada-Shoji N, Tsang JW, Coombes RC, Schwer B, Khoo US, Lam EW SIRT6 modulates paclitaxel and epirubicin resistance and survival in breast cancer.  View on PubMed
  13. Shi W, Bain AL, Schwer B, Al-Ejeh F, Smith C, Wong L, Chai H, Miranda MS, Ho U, Kawaguchi M, Miura Y, Finnie JW, Wall M, Heierhorst J, Wicking C, Spring KJ, Alt FW, Khanna KK Essential developmental, genomic stability, and tumour suppressor functions of the mouse orthologue of hSSB1/NABP2.  View on PubMed
  14. Alt FW, Zhang Y, Meng FL, Guo C, Schwer B Mechanisms of programmed DNA lesions and genomic instability in the immune system.  View on PubMed
  15. Oksenych V, Kumar V, Liu X, Guo C, Schwer B, Zha S, Alt FW Functional redundancy between the XLF and DNA-PKcs DNA repair factors in V(D)J recombination and nonhomologous DNA end joining.  View on PubMed
  16. Oksenych V, Alt FW, Kumar V, Schwer B, Wesemann DR, Hansen E, Patel H, Su A, Guo C Functional redundancy between repair factor XLF and damage response mediator 53BP1 in V(D)J recombination and DNA repair.  View on PubMed
  17. Boboila C, Oksenych V, Gostissa M, Wang JH, Zha S, Zhang Y, Chai H, Lee CS, Jankovic M, Saez LM, Nussenzweig MC, McKinnon PJ, Alt FW, Schwer B Robust chromosomal DNA repair via alternative end-joining in the absence of X-ray repair cross-complementing protein 1 (XRCC1).  View on PubMed
  18. Boboila C, Alt FW, Schwer B Classical and alternative end-joining pathways for repair of lymphocyte-specific and general DNA double-strand breaks.  View on PubMed
  19. Hirschey MD, Shimazu T, Huang JY, Schwer B, Verdin E SIRT3 regulates mitochondrial protein acetylation and intermediary metabolism.  View on PubMed
  20. Hirschey MD, Shimazu T, Jing E, Grueter CA, Collins AM, Aouizerat B, Stancáková A, Goetzman E, Lam MM, Schwer B, Stevens RD, Muehlbauer MJ, Kakar S, Bass NM, Kuusisto J, Laakso M, Alt FW, Newgard CB, Farese RV, Kahn CR, Verdin E SIRT3 deficiency and mitochondrial protein hyperacetylation accelerate the development of the metabolic syndrome.  View on PubMed

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