Marcelo Febo, PhD
Ph.D. University of Puerto Rico Medical School Campus
B. S. University of Puerto Rico
Our primary objective is to utilize state of the art high field magnetic resonance imaging in animal models to characterize the acute and long term effects of drugs of abuse in the brain. There is a growing literature supporting alterations in the functional interactions between multiple brain regions in addiction. Results from these studies indicate that changes in functional connectivity following drug exposure may occur within and outside the mesolimbic reward system. Our laboratory has applied a variety of experimental paradigms using high field functional magnetic resonance imaging in rats to investigate putative neural circuits of drug and natural reward. Our initial work examined the direct pharmacodynamic actions of cocaine in the male and female rat brain. These studies provided an initial insight into the use of pharmacological MRI in awake rats and the regions directly activated by cocaine. More recently, we have used other methods to examine neuronal activity changes more directly with manganese enhanced MRI (MEMRI) and resting state functional connectivity analysis. The latter methods, along with the traditional fMRI techniques are gradually piecing together important properties of drug-induced changes in functionality in the in vivo rodent brain that can be used to guide the development of treatments.
I decided to pursue a research career, particularly a career in neuroscience, as an undergraduate student. With the help of my mentor at the time, I obtained a minority fellowship to conduct research using transmission electron microscopy of the frog palatine nerve. During this period, I also began to learn about the brain, including the concept that it not only mediates basic sensory experiences and motor responses, but also mediates thought, memory, mood, and aspects social behavior. Impairments in brain areas mediating these aspects of human behavior are a primary driver of neuropsychiatric conditions, including addiction. My initial experiences were further strengthened towards leading a career in neuroscience while in graduate school, when I became highly interested in the field of addiction. As a postdoctoral student I had the opportunity to start training on the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which to this day has offered a powerful way to explore the inner workings of the brain under a variety of experimental conditions.
Bruijnzeel AW, Qi X, Guzvha LV, Wall S, Deng JV, Gold MS, Febo M, Setlow B. Behavioral characterization of the effects of cannabis smoke and anandamide in rats. PLoS One, 2016, accepted. Research
Colon-Perez LM, Tran K, Thompson K, Pace MC, Blum K, Goldberger BA, Gold MS, Bruijnzeel AW, Setlow B, Febo M. The psychoactive designer drug and bath salt constituent MDPV causes widespread disruption of brain functional connectivity. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2016, accepted. [PMID: 26997298] Research
Thanos PK, Hamilton J, O’Rourke JR, Napoli A, Febo M, Volkow N, Blum K, Gold MS. Dopamine D2 gene expression interacts with environmental enrichment to impact lifespan and behavior. Oncotarget, 2016, accepted. [PMID: 26992232] Research
Thinscmidt JS, Colon-Perez LM, Febo M, Caballero S, King MA, White FA, Grant MB. Depressed basal hypothalamic neuronal activity in type-1 diabetes mice is correlated with proinflammatory secretion of HMBG1. Neuroscience Letters, 2016; 615:21-7 [PMID: 26777426]. Research
Blum K, Febo M, Fahlke C, Archer T, Berggren U, Demetrovics Z, Dushaj K, Badgaiyan RD. Hypothesizing balancing endorphinergic and glutamatergic systems to treat and prevent relapse to reward deficiency behaviors: coupling D-phenylalanine and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) as a novel therapeutic modality. Clin Med Rev Case Rep, 2015; 2(8): 1-14. [PMID: 26900600] Review
Miller D, Miller M, Blum K, Badgaiyan RD, Febo M. Addiction treatment in America: after money or aftercare? J Reward Deficit Syndr, 2015; 1(3): 87-94. [PMID: 26835513] Review
Blum K, Thanos PK, Oscar-Berman M, Febo M, Baron D, Badgaiyan RD, Gardner E, Demetrovics Z, Fahlke C, Hoberstick BC, Dushaj K, Gold MS. Dopamine in the brain: hypothesizing surfeit or deficit links to reward and addiction. J Reward Deficit Syndr, 2015; 1(1): 20-23. [PMID: 26306328] Review