Contact Information

Research Associate Professor
University of Texas at El Paso
500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968
United States of America

Office 915-747-6568
Fax 915-747-0000

Membership Information

Membership Category:
Research Scientists

Member Since: 2006


Luis M. Carcoba, M.D., Ph.D.

Luis M. Carcoba, M.D., Ph.D.


Ph.D. University of Texas at El Paso, Texas
M.D., Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi, Mexico


Research Statement


Substance abuse is a complex mental health problem with important long term consequences for the individual. Although substance abuse etiology is multifactorial, it is clear that biological mechanisms are critical in understanding specific responses to drugs and the development of dependence. For several years I did clinical work with drug abusers, and working with these populations made me aware of a significant number of unanswered questions, now some of these problems are the major focus of my research. Therefore, the long term goal of my work is to identify biological mechanisms that contribute to substance abuse, along with determining the degree of influence that stressful environmental factors have in its etiology. Based on previous clinical experience working with drug users and my past and present lines of investigation, my short-term goal is to consolidate a translational-oriented research platform. My earlier work examined the neurobiological mechanisms mediating pain in opiate users and the impact of stress on relapse among heroin users. My current effort is dedicated to studying the neurochemical mechanisms mediating sex differences to nicotine. By expanding both lines of investigation, my objective is to develop a research program studying the effects of drugs of abuse in the brain, with emphasis on risk factors that enhance susceptibility to drug addiction, such as stress and gender differences

View Curriculum Vitae

Recent Publications

LM Carcoba, JE Orfila, LA Natividad, OV Torres, JA Pipkin, PL Ferree, E Castañeda, DE. Moss and LE O'Dell (2014) Cholinergic transmission during nicotine withdrawal is influenced by age and pre-exposure to nicotine: Implications for teenage smoking. In Press, to be published in Developmental Neurosciences.

Torres OV, Gentil LG, Natividad LA, Carcoba LM and O’Dell LE. (2013) Behavioral, Biochemical, and Molecular Indices of Stress are Enhanced in Female Versus Male Rats Experiencing Nicotine Withdrawal. Front. Psychiatry, 4:38 doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00038

Briones D, Heller PL, Escamilla MA, Carcoba LM, Weisman HW, Ledger EM, (2011) Chronic Conditions and Depression in Elderly Mexican American and Non-Hispanic White Residents of a United States-Mexico Border County. Depression Research and Treatment, Volume 2011, Article ID 908536, pp. 1-10 doi:10.1155/2011/908536

Carcoba LM, Contreras AE, Cepeda-Benito A, Meagher WM. (2011) Negative affect heightens opiate withdrawal-induced hyperalgesia in heroin abusers. J Addict Dis. 30(3):258-70.

Miller T, Carcoba L, Mittal S, Mallikarjunaiah B. & Tassinary LG. (2010). Old wine in new bottles: New insights into the ERN via the response-signal method. Psychophysiology, 47, S70.

Young,E.E., Sieve,A.N., Vichaya,E., Carcoba,L.M., Young,C.R., Ambrus,A., Storts,R., Welsh,J.R and Meagher, M.W.(2010), Chronic restraint stress during early Theiler’s virus infection exacerbates the subsequent demyelinating disease in SJL mice: II. CNS disease severity, Journal of Neuroimmunology. 220(1-2); pp. 79-89.

Vichaya E, Baumbauer K, Carcoba LM, Grau JW, and Meagher MW. (2009), Spinal glia modulate both adaptive and pathological processes, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 23 (7) pp. 969-976

Young EE, Sieve AN, Vichaya E, Carcoba LM, Steelman AJ, Young CR, Storts R, Welsh TH, Welsh CJR and Meagher MW. (2008) Impact of chronic restraint stress during early Theiler’s virus infection on CNS disease severity in SJL mice Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 22 (4), Supplement 1, p 24.

Carcoba LM, Santiago M, Moss DE, Cabeza R. (2008) In utero methanesulfonyl fluoride differentially affects learning and maze performance in the absence of long-lasting cholinergic changes in the adult rat. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 88 (4); pp.3774-384