Home Page




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 above: Rebecca Derman, Tracy Fetterly, Carrie Ferrario, Francisco Sanchez-Conde, Yanaira Alonso Caraballo, Helena Papacostas Quintanilla

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

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


Ferrario-Lab Publications:

Pettibone JR, Yu JY, Derman RC, Hughes ED,  Filipiak WE, Zeidler MG, Saunders TL, Ferrario CR and Berke JD. Knock-in rat lines with Cre recombinase at the dopamine D1 and adenosine 2a receptor loci.  https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/11/13/455337

Senese, N, Oginsky, M, Neubig, RR, Ferrario, CR, Jutkiewicz, EM; Role of hippocampal 5-HT1A receptors in the antidepressant-like phenotype of mice expressing RGS-insensitive Gai2 protein. Neuropharmacology, in press

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 [Epub ahead of print]

Derman RC and Ferrario CR (2018) Enhanced incentive motivation in obesity-prone rats is mediated by NAc CP-AMPARs. Neuropharmacology 131:326-336.

Access the recommendation on F1000Prime

Vollbrecht PJ, Nesbitt KM, Mabrouk OS, Chadderdon AM, Jutkiewicz EM, Kennedy RT, and Ferrario CR Cocaine and desipramine elicit distinct striatal noradrenergic and behavioral responses in selectively bred obesity-resistant and obesity-prone rats Behavioural Brain Research. [Epub ahead of print]

Ferrario CR and Regan LP (2017). Insulin-mediated synaptic plasticity in the CNS: anatomical, functional and temporal contexts; Neuropharmacology. [Epub ahead of print] 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.

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; Oct 17. [Epub ahead of print]















Subpages (1): Protocols & Procedures