Catharine Jawahar

Dr Catharine Jawahar


Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Dr Catharine Jawahar is a lecturer at the Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Adelaide. She coordinates the undergraduate, Fundamentals of Biological Psychiatry course. Her research focus is on understanding the mechanisms mediating psychosocial stress effects to increased risk of psychiatric disorders.

Broadly, my research is on understanding the effects of psychosocial stress on brain development, neuroendocrine and immune functions and behaviors across life-span. As a molecular biologist with a specific interest in the genetics of psychiatric disorders, my research aims to unravel the complex interplay of genes and environment in the onset and progression of various psychiatric disorders. In particular, my research focus is on the effect of early life stressors and their role in programming the brain for later-life psychopathology in either adolescence or adulthood. My primary expertise is with animal models of psychiatric endophenotypes, focused on the effect of early stress and trauma in WT or genetically modified mouse strains. More recently I have also been working with clinical cohorts of depression and psychosis within the discipline in collaboration with other researchers. 

Project 1

Title: DNA methylation effects of childhood trauma exposure in adult psychopathology

Description: This study will analyze epigenome-wide and candidate based methylation differences between those exposed to high vs low childhood trauma. The study will use a small pilot data from a larger Cognitive and Functional analysis in Mood study (CoFaMS) and conduct a systematic review of existing research to understand if distinct methylation profiles underlie various childhood stressor effects. 

Project available for Third-year students

Location: AHMS

Research project start: Semester 1 and 2



Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) Research Committee- Clinical research grant: Associate investigator (AI-C). Title: To investigate the association of complement, oxidative and inflammatory markers and BDNF with cognitive and general function in chronic psychosis. $40,242 Jan 2019- June 2020

Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) Research Committee - Clinical research grant: CI-A. TitleChildhood maltreatment and adult depression status: A pilot study to identify neuro-immune interaction mechanisms mediating early adversity effects on adult depression. $43,772.84 Jan 2015 - Dec 2016

Lecturer: Fundamentals of Biological Psychiatry (PSYCHIAT3200): 2014-2015

Course coordinator: Fundamentals of Biological Psychiatry (PSYCHIAT3200): 2016-present

Module Co-Coordinator: Addiction and Mental Health Module; Reflect, Research and Resolve: 2018-present

Guest lecturer: Biological and Psychosocial Factors in Addiction: 2018-present

  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2015 - 2019 Co-Supervisor The Effects of Long-Term Exercise and Stopping Long-Term Exercise on Behaviours and Neurobiology Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Julie A Morgan
    2015 - 2020 Co-Supervisor The Differential Effects of Short-Term Physical Exercise, Environmental Enrichment and their Combination, and Short-and-Long-Term Environmental Enrichment on Behavior and Associated Molecular Changes in the Brain of C57BL/6 Mice Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Gaurav Singhal
  • Position: Lecturer
  • Phone: 83137394
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences, floor 6
  • Org Unit: Medical Specialties

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