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We are hiring! The Ferrario lab seeks graduate and post graduate trainees interested in the neurobiology of motivation, glutamatergic plasticity, addiction and obesity.
Job descriptions can be found here:Job postings


Pictured left to right top: Amanda France, Limmy Kim, Yanaira Alonso Caraballo, Carrie Ferrario, Rachel Springsdorf, Emma Bergman, Sophia Dulap; Bottom row: Jacob Ormes, Julie Finnell, Allison Nieto, Tracy Fetterly.

Research Overview:
Our goal is to understand the neuro-biological mechanisms that contribute to drug addiction and obesity. Our current focus is on identifying and understanding alterations in excitatory transmission and plasticity within the brain's "reward pathway" that contribute to these conditions. To accomplish this, we use a variety of approaches including behavioral pharmacology, biochemistry, and slice electrophysiology.


Visit our student resources page to learn more about graduate and undergraduate research opportunities.

The Ferrario lab is part of:
The Department of Pharmacology: https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/pharmacology
The Neuroscience Graduate Program: http://neuroscience.med.umich.edu/
The Michigan Diabetes Research Center: http://diabetesresearch.med.umich.edu/

Current Funding:
R01DK106188: Alterations in Motivated Behavior in Rodent Models of Obesity awarded by NIH-NIDDK; 2015-2020

R01DK115526: Effects of insulin on NAc excitatory transmission and motivation for food awarded by NIH-NIDDK; 2018-2021

R21DA045277: Exploring the link between reactive oxygen species and CP-AMPAR up-regulation in addiction awarded by NIH-NIDA; 2018-2020; Co-I: Carrie Ferrario, Co-I: Travis Brown

R01DA044204: Animal models of Addiction awarded by NIH-NIDA; 2018-2023 Co-I: Carrie Ferrario, PI: Terry Robinson

T32DA07268: Biology of Drug Addiction from NIH-NIDA; Co-I: Carrie Ferrario, PI: John Traynor


Ferrario Lab Manuscripts Under Review & Preprints on BioRxiv:

Carr CC, Ferrario CR, Robinson TE; Intermittent access cocaine self-administration produces psychomotor sensitization: effects of withdrawal, sex and cross-sensitization. In Revision: Psychopharamcology  Preprint: doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/859520; bioRxiv 859520

Oginsky, MF, Santana-Rodriguez, Z, and Ferrario CR; Insulin enhances presynaptic glutamate release in the nucleus accumbens via opioid receptor-mediated disinhibition. In Revision: Journal of Neuroscience. Preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/517797 http://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/517797v1

Ferrario Lab Peer Reviewed Publications:

Newman M and Ferrario CR; An improved demand curve for analysis of food or drug consumption in animal experiments. Accepted; Psychopharmacology Preprint: bioRxiv 765461; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/765461

Derman RC, Bass CE, and Ferrario CR; Effects of hM4Di activation in CamKII basolateral amygdala neurons and CNO treatment on Sensory-Specific vs. General-PIT; refining PIT circuits and considerations for using CNO. In press Psychopharmacology. Preprint: bioRxiv 700120; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/700120

Derman RC and Ferrario CR (2019) Affective Pavlovian motivation is enhanced in obesity susceptible populations; implications for incentive motivation in obesity. In press Behav Brain Res. Nov 21;380:112318. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112318. [Epub ahead of print] Preprint: doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/657833   http://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/657833v1

Alonso-Caraballo Y and Ferrario CR (2019) Effects of the estrous cycle and ovarian hormones on cue-triggered motivation and intrinsic excitability of medium spiny neurons in the Nucleus Accumbens core of female rats. Horm Behav. Aug 24:104583. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2019.104583. [Epub ahead of print]; Preprint: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/669804v1; https://doi.org/10.1101/669804 PMID: 31454509 PMC Journal – In Process

Oginsky MF and Ferrario CR (2019) Eating “junk-food” has opposite effects on intrinsic excitability of nucleus accumbens core neurons in obesity-susceptible vs. -resistant rats. J. Neurophysiol 122(3):1264-1273. Preprint: http://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/658971v1 PMID:31365322  PMCID:PMC6766731

Pettibone JR, Yu JY, Derman RC, Faust TW, Hughes ED, Filipiak WE, Saunders TL, Ferrario CR and Berke JD (2019) Knock-in rat lines with Cre recombinase at the dopamine D1 and adenosine 2a receptor loci. eNeuro. 6(5) doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0163-19.2019. [Epub ahead of print]; Preprint: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/11/13/455337 PMID:31451604 PMCID:PMC6776791

Alonso-Caraballo Y, Vollbrecht PJ, Hodgson KJ, Morgan SA, Ferrario, CR, Vollbrecht PF (2019) Enhanced anxiety-like behavior emerges with weight gain in male and female obesity-susceptible rats. Beh Brain Research. 360: 81-93.

Alonso-Caraballo Y, Jorgensen ET, Brown TE, and Ferrario CR (2018) Functional and structural plasticity contributing to obesity: roles for sex, diet, and individual susceptibility. Invited Review; Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. 23: 160-170.

Derman RC and Ferrario CR (2018) Junk-food enhances conditioned approach to a previously established food cue, but does not alter cue potentiated feeding; implications for the effects of palatable diets on incentive motivation Physiol & Beh 192:145-157.

Derman RC and Ferrario CR (2018) Enhanced incentive motivation in obesity-prone rats is mediated by NAc CP-AMPARs. Neuropharmacology 131:326-336. F1000 Prime Recommendation: https://f1000.com/prime/732389019#

Vollbrecht PJ, Nesbitt KM, Mabrouk OS, Chadderdon AM, Jutkiewicz EM, Kennedy RT, and Ferrario CR (2018) Cocaine and desipramine elicit distinct striatal noradrenergic and behavioral responses in selectively bred obesity-resistant and obesity-prone rats Behavioural Brain Research 346:137-143.

Senese, N, Oginsky, M, Neubig, RR, Ferrario, CR, Jutkiewicz, EM (2018) Role of hippocampal 5-HT1A receptors in the antidepressant-like phenotype of mice expressing RGS-insensitive Gai2 protein. Neuropharmacology. 141: 296-304.

Ferrario CR and Regan LP (2018). Insulin-mediated synaptic plasticity in the CNS: anatomical, functional and temporal contexts; Neuropharmacology 136: 182-191; NIHMS 927597

Ferrario CR (2017) Food Addiction and Obesity. Neuropsychopharm 42:361

Bosse KE, Oginsky MF, Susick LL, Ramalingam S, Ferrario CR, Conti AC (2017) Adenylyl Cyclase 1 Is Required for Ethanol-Induced Locomotor Sensitization and Associated Increases in NMDA Receptor Phosphorylation and Function in the Dorsal Medial Striatum. J Pharmacol and Exp Ther 363:148-155.

Dingess, PM, Darling, RA, Derman, RC, Wulff, SS Hunter, ML Ferrario, CR, and Brown, TE (2017) Structural and Functional Plasticity within the Nucleus Accumbens and Prefrontal Cortex Associated with Time-Dependent Increases in Food Cue-Seeking Behavior. Neuropsychopharm 42:2354-2364.

Oginsky M.F., Goforth P.B., Nobile C.W., Lopez-Santiago L.F., and Ferrario C.R. (2016) Eating “junk-food” produces rapid and long-lasting increases in NAc CP-AMPA receptors; implications for enhanced cue-induced motivation and food addiction. Neuropsychopharm 41:2977-2986. (Cover article; December 2016) Open Access

Ferrario C.R., Labouèbe G., Liu S., Nieh E.H., Routh V.H., Xu S., O'Connor E.C. (2016) Homeostasis meets motivation in the battle to control food intake. J Neurosci 36:111469-11481.

Oginsky M.F., Maust J., Corthell J.T., Ferrario C.R. (2016) Enhanced cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization and intrinsic excitability of NAc medium spiny neurons in adult but not adolescent rats susceptible to diet-induced obesity.
 Psychopharm 233(5):773-84. PMCID: PMC4752900

Vollbrecht P.J., Nobile C.W., Chadderdon A.M., Jutkiewicz E.M., Ferrario C.R. (2015) Pre-existing differences in motivation for food and sensitivity to cocaine-induced locomotion in obesity-prone rats. Physiol and Beh 152:151-160; NIHMS ID: 729094

Vollbrecht P.J., Mabrouk O.S., Nelson A.D., Kennedy, R.T., Ferrario, C.R. (2016) Pre-existing differences and diet-induced alterations in striatal dopamine systems of obesity-prone rats. Obesity (Silver Spring, MD) 24:670-677.

Robinson M.J.F., Burghardt P.R., Patterson C.M., Nobile C.W., Akil H., Watson S.J., Berridge K.C., Ferrario C.R. (2015) Individual differences in cue-induced motivation and striatal systems in rats susceptible to diet-induced obesity. Neuropsychopharm 40:2113–2123; PMID: 25761571.

Meyer, P.J., King, C.P., Ferrario, C.R. (2015) Motivational processes underlying substance abuse disorder. Curr Top Behav Neurosci 27:473-506. Epub ahead of print Oct 17, 2015. NIHMSID: 780389

Newman, M.E.J. and Ferrario C.R, (2013) Interacting epidemics and coinfection on contact networks, PLOS One 8(8):e71321, PMCID: PMC3738632