Additional research interests: Behavioral neuroscience, obesity, glutamate plasticity
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, slice electrophysiology, DREADDs, optogenetics, and transgenic rodent models.
Bio: Carrie Ferrario is an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan. Her research examines the neurobiological mechanisms underlying obesity and cocaine addiction. Dr. Ferrario received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 2006 where she trained with Dr. Terry Robinson. She conducted postdoctoral research with Drs. Marina Wolf, Margaret Gnegy and Les Satin examining addiction, glutamatergic plasticity and diabetes. Since establishing her lab in 2012 she has received a NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the Early Career Independent Investigator Award from ASPET, the Alan Epstein Award from SSIB, and received a Henry Russel Award from UM, the highest university honor awarded to early career faculty. Dr. Ferrario is co-Director of the UM Biology of Drug Abuse Training Program, an Associate Member of the ACNP, and a member of the Michigan Diabetes Research Center at UM.
Full publication list here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/carrie.newman.1/bibliography/47563196/public/?sort=date&direction=ascending
Alonso-Caraballo Y, Fetterly TL, Jorgensen ET, Brown TE, Ferrario CR; Sex specific effects of “junk-food” diet on calcium permeable AMPA receptors and silent synapses in the nucleus accumbens core (2020) Neuropsychopharmacology doi: 10.1038/s41386-020-0781-1. Online ahead of print
Ferrario, CR; Why did I eat that? Contributions of individual differences in incentive motivation and nucleus accumbens plasticity to obesity (2020) Physiol and Beh Vol 227, Dec 1
Newman M and Ferrario CR; An improved demand curve for analysis of food or drug consumption in animal experiments (2020) Psychopharmacol 237(4), 943-955. Preprint: bioRxiv 765461; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/765461
Carr CC, Ferrario CR, Robinson TE; Intermittent access cocaine self-administration produces psychomotor sensitization: effects of withdrawal, sex and cross-sensitization (2020) Psychopharamcology 237(6), 1795-1812, doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/859520; bioRxiv 859520
Derman RC and Ferrario CR (2018) Enhanced incentive motivation in obesity-prone rats is mediated by NAc CP-AMPARs. Neuropharmacology 131:326-336. PMID:29291424 PMCID:PMC6010194 F1000 Prime Recommendation: https://f1000.com/prime/732389019#
Oginsky MF, Goforth PB, Nobile CW, Lopez-Santiago LF, and Ferrario CR (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(13):2977-2986. PMID: 27383008 PMCID:PMC5101548
Ferrario CR, Labouèbe G, Liu S, Nieh EH, Routh VH, Xu S, O’Connor EC. Homeostasis Meets Motivation in the Battle to Control Food Intake (2016). J Neurosci 36:111469-11481.
More detailed research description: My lab integrates concepts from the addiction, learning, and feeding fields to ask new questions about the neurobiological and behavioral drivers of obesity and drug addiction. The majority of obesity-related research focuses on metabolism and homeostatic regulation of feeding. However, over-eating, particularly of palatable, calorie dense foods, is often driven by motivational responses that over-ride satiety signals. In addition, in order to understand what causes obesity we must examine neurobehavioral changes that drive over-eating in the earlier stages of weight gain. Research in my lab addresses these gaps in understanding. In regard to the neurobiology of cocaine addiction, we examine the role of glutamate plasticity in newly developed self-administration models that capture behavioral features of the transition to addiction. Our work highlights the need for detailed comparison of food- and drug-induced plasticity in order to improve understanding of the neurobiology of ‘normal’ vs. aberrant motivation.