Jill L. Silverman, Ph.D.


Behavioral Neuroscience



  • Assistant Adjunct Professor

Research II

4625 2nd Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
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Clinical Interests

Dr. Silverman?s current expertise is in preclinical translational evaluation of pharmacological treatments for autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Silverman?s research team administered promising compounds to mice with social deficits and repetitive behaviors, and conducted assays for improvements in those two primary diagnostic domains of autism. Her most recent first author publications in Science Translational Medicine, Neuropsychopharmacology and Neuropharmacology described reductions in repetitive behaviors and mild improvements in social behavior in two mouse models of autism. Dr. Silverman?s group is currently working on project topics that include phenotypes of autism relevant genetic mouse models, the complexities in interpretation of mouse behavioral data, additional pharmacological treatment reversals in mouse models of autism and the development of mouse behavioral tasks of cognition using technology that is analogous to cognitive tasks being used clinically.

Dr. Silverman completed her undergraduate education in June of 1999 at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology (Honors) with a heavy emphasis in Neurobiology and Behavior. During this time, Dr. Silverman gained insight into the clinical neurological community, by working as a Cognitive Retraining Therapist for individuals with behavioral disruptions caused by traumatic brain injuries. For her doctoral research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, she identified the impact of stress-related mechanisms in major mental illnesses. Employing rodent models, Dr. Silverman investigated neuroendocrine regulatory mechanisms through which episodes of depression, schizophrenia and drug abuse are triggered or exacerbated by inappropriate responses to stressors.

For her postdoctoral training, Dr. Silverman was recruited by Dr. Jacqueline Crawley, in July 2007, to join her Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda. Dr. Silverman?s projects employed a multi-tiered comprehensive phenotyping strategy, designed by Dr. Crawley and refined by Dr. Silverman, which has led to the discovery and publication of clinically relevant phenotypes in mutant mouse models of human genetic diseases including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, intellectual disabilities and Phelan-McDermid Syndrome.

Dr. Silverman is a leader in training new behavioral neuroscientists. She has trained, supervised and mentored numerous postbaccalaureates, Howard Hughes Medical Institute intern students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Silverman has been a member in good standing of the Society for Neuroscience and Women in Neuroscience for 10 years, and the International Society for Autism Research for 4 years. Dr. Silverman further provided service via collaborative advice and training in mouse behavioral testing methods to over 30 colleagues. Dr. Silverman also communicates and participates in dialogue aimed at informing parent advocates of the nation?s top non-profit organizations to aide support and funding tailored to basic research in neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Silverman enjoys educating on the use of animal models in studies of autism and neurodevelopmental disorders to student and public communities. Additional accolades for Dr. Silverman include five performance awards for research excellence from the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program and three Howard Hughes Medical Institute Student Internship Mentor Awards.


Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, 2007

B.A., Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1999

Select Recent Publications

Silverman JL, Oliver CF, Karras MN, Gastrell PT, and Crawley JN (2012) AMPAKINE enhancement of social interaction in the BTBR mouse model of autism. Neuropharmacology: Special Issue on Cognitive Enhancers. 2012 July 16 [Epub]

Silverman JL, Smith DG, Sukoff Rizzo SJ, Karras MN, Turner SM, Tolu SS, Smith DL, Ring RH, Crawley JN. Negative allosteric modulation of the mGluR5 receptor reduces repetitive behaviors and rescues social deficits in mouse models of autism. Science Translational Medicine. 2012 Apr 25;4(131):131ra51.

Woehr M, Silverman JL, Scattoni ML, Turner SM, Harris MJ, Saxena R, Crawley JN. Developmental delays and reduced pup ultrasonic vocalizations but normal sociability in mice lacking the postsynaptic cell adhesion protein Neuroligin2. Equally Contributing First Authors. Behavioural Brain Research. 2012 July 20 [Epub]

Yang M, Abrams DN, Simon H, Katz AM, Zhang JY, Harris MJ, Saxena R, Kalikhman D, Scattoni ML, Wohr M, Roullet FI, Silverman JL, Bozdagi O, Sakuri T, Buxbaum JD, Crawley JN (2012) Behavioral phenotypes of mice with an ankyrin repeat domain deletion of the Shank3 gene. Journal of Neuroscience. 2012 May 9;32(19):6525-41.

Silverman JL, Yang M, Turner SM, Katz AM, Bell DB, Koenig JI, Crawley JN/ Low stress reactivity and neuroendocrine factors in the BTBR T()tf/J mouse model of autism. Neuroscience 2011;171:1197-1208.

Silverman JL, Turner SM, Barkan CL, Tolu SS, Saxena R, Hung AY, Sheng M, Crawley JN Sociability and motor functions in Shank1 mutant mice. Brain Res 2011 1380:120-37.

Papaleo F , Silverman JL, Aney J, Barkan CL, Chadman KK, Crawley JN. Working memory deficits, increased anxiety-like traits and seizure susceptibility in BDNF overexpressing female mice. Equally Contributing First Authors. Learning and Memory. 2011 18(8):534-44.

Silverman JL, Yang M, Lord C, Crawley JN. Behavioural phenotyping assays for mouse models of autism. Nat Rev Neurosci 2010; 11:490-502.

Silverman JL, Tolu SS, Barkan CL, Crawley JN. Repetitive self-grooming behavior in the BTBR mouse model of autism is blocked by the mGluR5 antagonist MPEP. Neuropsychopharmacology 2010; 35:976-989.