Marcelo Febo, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Dr. Marcelo Febo
Department of Psychiatry
University of Florida College of Medicine
PO Box 100256
Gainesville, FL 32610-0256
Phone: 294-4911 (office)


Assistant Professor and Director of Translational Research Imaging, Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL.

Research Area

Imaging psychostimulant-induced functional and structural changes in the rodent brain.


1997, B.Sc., Biology, University of Puerto Rico
2002, Ph.D., Physiology and Biophysics, University of Puerto Rico
2003-2007, Postdoctoral Research Center for Comparative Neuroimaging, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical Center

Current Research

Our research objective is to determine the in vivo neurobiological actions of psychostimulant drugs of abuse. To achieve this, we utilize several magnetic resonance imaging modalities in rodent models of psychostimulant exposure (e.g., diffusion, functional and manganese enhanced MRI). Synthetic cathinone derivatives share biochemical and behavioral properties with cocaine, methamphetamine and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ‘Ecstacy’). The popularity of synthetic psychoactive chemicals that substitute for these illegal drugs is a growing public health concern. Recent results from our lab show that the synthetic psychoactive cathinone derivative 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) causes widespread disruption of functional connectivity networks in rat brain. Ongoing work by our group is focused on understanding the deleterious neurotoxic and neuroinflammatory effects of MDPV and the long-term neuroadaptions with chronic abuse of synthetic cathinones and other psychostimulants.

Lab website

Recent Publications

Thompson MF, Poirier GL, Davila-Garcia MI, Huang W, Robidoux M, Dubuke ML, Shaffer SA, Colon-Perez L, Febo M, Difranza J, King JA. Menthol enchances nicotine-induced locomotor sensitization and in vivo functional connectivity in adolescence. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2017, in press.

Perez PD, Hall G, Zubcevic J, Febo M. Cocaine differentially affects synaptic activity in memory and midbrain areas of female and male rats: an in vivo MEMRI study. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 2017, doi:1007/s11682-017-9691-1. (PMID: 28236167).

Febo M, Blum K, Badgaiyan RD, Perez PD, Colon-Perez LM, Thanos PK, Ferris CF, Kulkarni P, Giordano J, Baron D, Gold MS. Enhanced functional connectivity and volume between cognitive and reward centers in naive rodent brain produced by pro-dopaminergic agent KB220Z. PLoS One, 2017, 12(4):e0174774.

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, Aug; 41(9): 2352-65. [PMID: 26997298]

Reed MD, Hilebrand DG, Santangelo G, Moffa A, Pira AS, Rycyna L, Radic M, Price K, Archbold J, McConnell K, Girard L, Morin K, Tang A, Febo M, Stellar JR. Assessing contributions of nucleus accumbens shell subregions to reward-seeking behavior. Drug Alcohol Depend, 2015 Aug; 153, 369-373. [PMID: 26048642]

Bruijnzeel AW, Alexander JC, Perez PD, Bauzo-Rodriguez R, Igari M, Hall G, Klausner R, Guerra V, Zeng H, Febo M. Acute nicotine administration increases BOLD fMRI signal in brain regions involved in reward signaling and compulsive drug intake in rats. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2015; 18(2):1-13. [online ahead of print, 31 Oct. 2014]. [PMID: 25552431]

Fratantonio J, Andrade L, Febo M. Designer drugs: a synthetic catastrophe. J Reward Deficit Syndr, 2015; 1(1): 20-23.

Caffrey MK, Febo M. Cocaine-associated odor cue re-exposure increases blood oxygenation level dependent signal in memory and reward regions of the maternal rat brain. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2014 Jan; 134: 67-177. [PMID: 24183499]

Johnson TR, Smerkers B, Moulder JK, Stellar JR, Febo M. Neural processing of a cocaine-associated odor cue revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging in awake rats. Neuroscience letters, 2013; 534:160-5. [PMID: 23262077]

Blum K, Olive MF, Wang KK, Febo M, Borsten J, Giordano J, Hauser M, Gold MS. Hypothesizing that designer drugs containing cathinones (“bath salts”) have profound neuro-inflammatory effects and dangerous neurotoxic response following human consumption. Medical Hypotheses, 2013; 81(3):450-455. [PMID: 23845561]

Febo, M, Pira, AS. Increased BOLD activation to predator stressor in ventral hippocampus and midbrain of amphetamine-sensitized maternal rats Brain Research, 2011; 1382:118-127. [PMID: 21134359]

Nephew BC, Febo M. Effect of cocaine sensitization prior to pregnancy on maternal care and aggression in the rat. Psychopharmacology, 2010 Mar; 209(1):127-135. [PMID: 20101390]

Febo M, Akbarian S, Schroeder FA, Ferris CF. Cocaine-induced metabolic activation in cortico-limbic circuitry is increased after exposure to the histone deacetylase inhibitor, sodium butyrate. Neuroscience Letters, 2009; 465: 267-271. [PMID: 19638299]