Dr. Carlos A. Jiménez Rivera

Associate Professor
Dr. Carlos A. Jiménez Rivera

Contact Info

  • Office A-688, Lab A-686

    School of Medicine
    University of Puerto Rico
    Medical Sciences Campus
    P.O. Box 365067
    San Juan, PR 00936-5067

  • (787)758-2525 x1676


  • B.S. 1979, Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, PR 
  • Ph.D.  1986, Physiology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine 
  • Post-Doc 1989, Neuropharmacology, Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, PA


My laboratory is interested in the role of the central norepinephrine’s (NE) system in cocaine addiction and epilepsy. Our recent work investigates the role of the NE system in the development of cocaine sensitization, a progressive and lasting enhancement in the motor stimulant effect induced by a subsequent drug challenge. Experiments include the use of animal models, western blots, systemic and iontophoretic administration of NE agonists and antagonists together with in vivo electrophysiological recordings. Whole cell patch clamp neurophysiologic recording techniques in in vitro brain slices are also employed to understand the basic biophysical mechanisms of cocaine addiction. The completion of these investigations will provide important information of whether a dysfunction of NE’s modulatory properties is an important factor in the development of cocaine addiction and could suggest possible avenues for therapeutic pharmacological interventions.


Ana Vacquer Alicea, Ph.D. 2017

Bermary Santos Vera, Ph.D. 2016

Francisco Arencibia Albite, Ph.D. 2013

María C. Velázquez Martínez, Ph.D. 2013

María E. Vélez Hernández, Ph.D. 2012



Cristhian Calo Guadalupe(2024-expected)

Joseph Capella Muñiz (2026-expected)

Undergraduate students

Omaris Vélez Acevedo

Miguel Rodríguez

Alison Santos



Scientific Collaborators

UPR, MSC, School of Medicine

  • Department of Anatomy:Mark Miller, PhD

UPR, RRP, Natural Sciences

University of Illinois Medical School

  • Physiology Departmente: Mark Brodie, Ph.D.

University of Bordeaux, France

  • Institut des Maladies Neurodegeneratives: Francois Georges, PhD

Universidad Central del Caribe

  • Department of Physiology: Priscila Sanabria, PhD

Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, PR

  • Department of Chemistry: Lisandro Cunci, PhD
  • Biology Department: Alfredo Ghezzi, PhD


  • Velasquez-Martinez, Maria Carolina, Bermary Santos-Vera, Maria E. Velez-Hernandez, Rafael Vazquez-Torres, and Carlos A. Jimenez-Rivera. “Alpha-1 Adrenergic Receptors Modulate Glutamate and GABA Neurotransmission onto Ventral Tegmental Dopamine Neurons during Cocaine Sensitization.” International journal of molecular sciences 21, no. 3 (2020): 790.
  • Santos-Vera, Bermary, Ana del C. Vaquer-Alicea, Cristina E. Maria-Rios, Alan Montiel-Ramos, Aynette Ramos-Cardona, Rafael Vázquez-Torres, Priscila Sanabria, and Carlos A. Jiménez-Rivera. “Protein and surface expression of HCN2 and HCN4 subunits in mesocorticolimbic areas after cocaine sensitization.” Neurochemistry international 125 (2019): 91-98.
  • Vaquer-Alicea, Ana del C., Rafael Vázquez-Torres, Marcos Devarie-Hornedo, Juan C. Vicenty-Padilla, Bermary Santos-Vera, Cristina María-Ríos, Maria E. Vélez-Hernández, Todd Sacktor, and Carlos A. Jiménez-Rivera. “aPKC-mediated persistent increase in AMPA/NMDA ratio in the VTA participates in the neuroadaptive signal necessary to induce NAc synaptic plasticity after cocaine administration.” Neuroscience 392 (2018): 129-140.
  • Arencibia-Albite, Francisco, Rafael Vázquez-Torres, and Carlos A. Jiménez-Rivera. “Cocaine sensitization increases subthreshold activity in dopamine neurons from the ventral tegmental area.” Journal of neurophysiology 117, no. 2 (2017): 612-623.
  • Santos-Vera, Bermary, Rafael Vázquez-Torres, Hermes G. García Marrero, Juan M. Ramos Acevedo, Francisco Arencibia-Albite, María E. Vélez-Hernández, Jorge D. Miranda, and Carlos A. Jiménez-Rivera. “Cocaine sensitization increases I h current channel subunit 2 (HCN 2) protein expression in structures of the mesocorticolimbic system.” Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 50, no. 1 (2013): 234-245.
  • Inyushin, Mikhail U., Francisco Arencibia-Albite, Angel de la Cruz, Rafael Vázquez-Torres, Katiria Colon, Priscila Sanabria, and Carlos A. Jiménez-Rivera. “New method to visualize neurons with DAT in slices of rat VTA using fluorescent substrate for DAT, ASP+.” Journal of neuroscience and neuroengineering 2, no. 2 (2013): 98-103.
  • Arencibia-Albite, Francisco, Rafael Vázquez, María C. Velásquez-Martinez, and Carlos A. Jiménez-Rivera. “Cocaine sensitization inhibits the hyperpolarization-activated cation current I h and reduces cell size in dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area.” Journal of neurophysiology 107, no. 8 (2012): 22
  • Jiménez-Rivera, C.A., Segarra, O., Jiménez, Z., and Waterhouse, B. (2000). Effects of intravenous cocaine administration on cerebellar Purkinje cell activity. European Journal of Pharmacology 407: 91-100.
  • Almodovar L., Segarra, O., N. Colon, J.G. Dones, M. Mercado, C.A., Meíias-Aponte, R. Vazquez, R. Abreu, E. Vazquez, J.T. Williams and C.A. Jimenez-Rivera, (2002). Effects of Cocaine Administration on VTA Cell Activity in Response to Pre-Frontal Cortex Stimulation. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 965:157-171.
  • Mejías-Aponte C.A., Jiménez-Rivera, C.A., Segarra, A.C. Sex differences in temporal lobe seizures: the role of testosterone. Brain Research 944:210-218, (2002).
  • Febo, M., Jiménez-Rivera, C.A., Segarra, A.C. Estrogen and opioids interact to modulate the locomotor response to cocaine in the female rat. Brain Research 943: 151-161 (2002).
  • Jiménez-Rivera, C.A., M. Feliu-Mojer and R. Vazquez-Torres. Alpha noradrenergic receptors modulate the development and expression of cocaine sensitization. Ann.N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1074:390-402 (2006).
  • Ortiz J.G., S. Gonzalez-Cabrera, M. Rubio-Davila, A. Tirado-Costacamps,R. Vazquez-Torres, N. Berrios-Cartagena, W.I.Silva and C.A. Jimenez-Rivera. AMPA and NMDA receptors in P2 fractions of cocaine and cocaine-prazosin-treated rats. Ann.N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1074:403-410 (2006).71-2282.