Back to Search Results
Paul Marvar Paul Marvar
Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Secondary)

Office Phone: 202-994-5584
Email: Email
Department: Pharmacology and Physiology


Dr. Marvar is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology (Since 2013) at George Washington University’s (GWU) School of Medicine and Health Sciences located in Washington DC.  He holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at GWU and is part of the GWU Institute for Brain Health and Dementia.  Prior to joining GWU, Dr. Marvar obtained his master's degree in Exercise Physiology from Northern Illinois University (NIU) and Ph.D. from West Virginia University (WVU) in Physiology.  During his Ph.D., he studied the mechanism(s) for how dietary salt impacts blood pressure function and regulation, and associated treatment implications for hypertension.

During his Postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University, Atlanta GA, under the mentorship of Dr. David G. Harrison, he expanded on these studies and examined various aspects of hypertension, including identifying a role of the neuroimmune system in hypertension development.  During this time, Dr. Marvar built upon these findings to pursue his long-standing interest and current research focus on understanding the impact of emotional stress on cardiovascular disease development.  In 2009 he was awarded a prestigious Emory University Scholars Program in Interdisciplinary Neurosciences  Research (SPINR) Fellowship that allowed him to work under the mentorship of Dr. Kerry J. Ressler, to investigate the link between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cardiovascular disease risk, a current focus of Dr. Marvar's research.  To further gain research experience and expertise, Dr. Marvar spent 2 years in the United Kingdom (UK) as a Marie Curie International Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, UK where he further studied autonomic nervous system and immune-mediated mechanisms in hypertension under the mentorship of Dr. Julian F. Paton.  Dr. Marvar’s current funding and research interests are in anxiety disorders and cardiovascular risk (Hypertension) with a focus on the brain neurocircuitry and neurohormonal (renin angiotensin-aldosterone) systems involved in the autonomic control of blood pressure and immune system regulation.

Recent peer-reviewed publications

  1. Seligowski, AV, Marvar PJ, Ressler, KJ and Philip, NS.  Involvement of the brain-heart axis in the link between PTSD and cardiovascular disease. Depression and Anxiety, June 2022. PMCID: PMC9588548
  2. DeLaney K, Jia D, Iyer L, Yu Z, Choi SB, Marvar PJ, Nemes P. Microanalysis of Brain Angiotensin Peptides Using Ultrasensitive Capillary Electrophoresis Trapped Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry. Anal Chem. 2022 Jun 28;94(25):9018-9025. PMID: 35696295
  3. Stein MB, Jain S, Simon NM, West JC, Marvar PJ, Bui E, He F, Benedek DM, Cassano P, Griffith JL, Howlett J, Malgaroli M, Melaragno A, Seligowski AV, Shu IW, Song S, Szuhany K, Taylor CT, Ressler KJ; LOSe-PTSD Investigators.  Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of the Angiotensin Receptor Antagonist Losartan for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2021 May 21:S0006-3223(21)01328-
  4. Turley B, Swiercz AP, Iyer L, Marvar PJ.  Internal state-dependent conditioned stimulus delivery using cardiovascular telemetry in mice. Physiol Behav. 2021 Apr 3;236:113414
  5. Marvar PJ, Andero R, Hurlemann R, Lago TR, Zelikowsky M, Dabrowska J. Limbic Neuropeptidergic Modulators of Emotion and Their Therapeutic Potential for Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. J Neurosci. 2021 Feb 3;41(5):901-910
  6. Seligowski AV, Duffy LA, Merker JB, Michopoulos V, Gillespie CF, Marvar PJ, Stein MB, Ressler KJ
  7. The renin-angiotensin system in PTSD: a replication and extension.  Neuropsychopharmacology. 2021 Mar;46(4):750-755
  8. Swiercz AP, Iyer L, Yu Z, Edwards A, Prashant NM, Nguyen BN, Horvath A, Marvar PJ.  Evaluation of an angiotensin Type 1 receptor blocker on the reconsolidation of fear memory. Transl Psychiatry. 2020 Oct 27;10(1):363.
  9. Seligowski AV, Merker JB, Swiercz AP, Park J, Marvar PJ, Ressler KJ, Jovanovic T.J.  Examining the cardiovascular response to fear extinction in a trauma-exposed sample.  Psychiatr Res. 2020 May;124:85-90.


Chronic stress and stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders (i.e, PTSD) are recognized as independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) development and mortality.  Our basic and clinical basic translational research teams examine neurobehavioral and physiological mechanisms that contribute to chronic stress-related CVD development.   We specialize in technologies and interdisciplinary approaches that allow for in-depth integrative systems physiology functional analysis, with an emphasis on neuro-cardiovascular and ethologically relevant behavioral approaches for understanding the impact of chronic stress on brain-heart and brain-vascular homeostasis.  Our research is focused on mechanisms related to brain structures and neuropeptide systems that control physiological (ie., heart rate, blood pressure) and emotional  (ie., fear) responses to chronic stress, with an emphasis on the neuroendocrine, autonomic, and immune-mediated processes (ie., inflammation).  Our current research objectives are two-fold (1) To further elucidate underlying neurophysiological and behavioral mechanisms that promote chronic-stress-related CVD (2) To identify novel therapeutic biomarkers, targets, and strategies that mitigate and/or prevent chronic-stress-related CVD.


Our research has been supported by federal and foundational agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the American Heart Association.  Current and recently completed funding are listed below.

Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) PR210574;
Marvar (PI) 7/1/22 – 7/1/26
Elucidating Mechanisms of Hypertension Risk in PTSD

NIH 1R01HL137103-01A1       Marvar (PI)       1/15/18 – 12/31/21       
Brain Angiotensin II as a Mediator of Fear Memory and Cardiovascular Dysfunction

NIH 3R01HL137103-02S1        Marvar (PI)       9/15/19 – 12/31/20
Brain Angiotensin II as a Mediator of Fear Memory and Cardiovascular Dysfunction
*Alzheimer's-focused administrative supplement to Parent R01
NIH 3R01HL137103-02S2        Marvar (PI)       9/15/19 – 12/31/21
Brain Angiotensin II as a Mediator of Fear Memory and Cardiovascular Dysfunction
*Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research
NIH 1R01HL137103-01A1       Marvar (Co-PI) 01/15/18 – 12/31/22     
      Does Biocompatibility Contribute to Transfusion-Related Adverse Effects?   

Department of Defense – PH/THIRP      Marvar (Site -PI)  9/15/15 – 09/15/19
Enhancing Fear Extinction via Angiotensin Type 1 Receptor Inhibition: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Posttraumatic
Stress Disorder. 


2019     British Association for Psychopharmacology 2019 Summer meeting Best non-clinical Poster Prize
2017     Beverly Petterson Bishop Award for Excellence in Neuroscience
2016     Travel Award - The Physiological Society
2015     Travel Award - The Physiological Society
2015     Elected Fellow - American Heart Association – Council on Hypertension
2014     Elected Fellow - American Physiological Society Cardiovascular Section
2013     New Investigator Award – American Physiological Society Cardiovascular Section
2012     Ziskind Somerfeld Research Foundation Society of Biological Psychiatry Top 10 Article
2011     Marie Curie International Research Fellowship Award
2010     The APS Central Nervous System Section Young Investigator Research Recognition Award
2009     Emory University Interdisciplinary Neurosciences Postdoctoral Scholar Award
2009     The APS Cardiovascular Section Young Investigator Research Recognition Award
2008     The APS Caroline tum Suden/Frances Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award
2008     Emory University Office of Post Doctoral Education Fellow Merit Award
2005     West Virginia University, Finalist-Van Liere Memorial Research Convocation
2005     West Virginia University School of Medicine, Graduate Student Travel Award
2003     West Virginia University Department of Physiology, Travel Grant
2001     Northern Illinois University, Graduate School Travel Grant
2001     Northern Illinois University, Outstanding Graduate Student Award
2000     Northern Illinois University, Stroup-Dunn Scholarship Award
1997     Canisius College, Deans Academic Merit List


Molecular Pharmacology & Neurobiology of Excitable Tissues MMED 8281-  Co-Course Director               
Physiology for Health Sciences (PHYL 6211)    
Foundations of Medicine (IDIS 8101)
Musculoskeletal, Spinal Cord, and Rheumatology
Systems Physiology for Graduate Students (BMSC 8212)
Brain and Behavior Pharmacology 6202


Centers and Institutes

GW Institute for Brain Health and Dementia



  • Clinical and Translational Research

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None