Flavia Carreño


Location: Alan Frazer, Ph.D.



Flavia Carreño, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor/Research

Personal Statement:

My current research focuses on alternative therapies for treatment resistant depression. Based on our recently published data showing that the sustained antidepressant-like response to ketamine is dependent on the activation of the ventral hippocampus, we propose a more translationally relevant approach by selectively targeting the hippocampus pharmacologically. In particular, we are exploiting the discrete localization of the alpha5-subunit of the GABAA receptor to modulate preferentially hippocampal activity. We have also published that such an approach produces an antidepressant-like response without the psychotomimetic effects and abuse related properties associated with the use of ketamine. Currently we are studying the mechanisms by which pharmacological augmentation of hippocampal activity produces sustained antidepressant-like effects.


Ph.D., Cellular and Tissue Biology
University of São Paulo
São Paulo, SP, Brazil


• Vagal nerve stimulation • antidepressants
• treatment resistant depression • neurotrophins
• TrkB receptor  

Awards & Accomplishments

Chair’s Award for Excellence – Research – Dec 2014 William Thomas Booth Memorial Travel Award – UTHSCSA – Sept 2014


  • Reviewer for Journals – Biological Psychiatry – 2018-Present
  • Poster Judge – APSA Meeting (2018), BBC Meeting (2016), Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium (2015), Passport Retreat (2015)
  • Chemical Safety Committee Member – UT Health San Antonio – 2017-Present
  • START-UP Recruitment Team – St. Mary’s University – 2017
  • Member of Center for Biomedical Neuroscience (CBN) – 2016-Present
  • Reviewer for Journals – Brain Stimulation – 2015-Present
  • Reviewer for Journals – International Journal of Neural Systems – 2015-Present
  • Reviewer for Journals – Neuropharmacology – 2015-Present

Grant Reviewer (ad hoc) – William & Ella Owens Medical Research Foundation – 2015 Brain Bowl Judge – UT Health San Antonio – 2015 Reviewer for Journals – PLOS ONE – 2014-Present Reviewer for Journals – Neural Regeneration Research – 2014-Present Natalia High School Science Night – Registration Booth Organizer – San Antonio, TX – 2014 Reviewer for Journals – Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy – 2012-Present Organizing committee for R25 students Journal Club – Department of Pharmacology, UT Health San Antonio, TX – Dec 2011-Present Member of American Physiological Society (APS) – 2009-Present Member of the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CRI) – 2009-Present Member of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) – 2005-Present


Certifications and Training  Genome Sequencing Facility, UT Health San Antonio – Workshop attendee: RNA-seq (4 hours) – 2015 Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, UT Health San Antonio – Course attendee: Entering Mentorship (8 hours) – 2014
Grants, Funding and Research Support  Center for Biomedical Neuroscience (CBN) pilot project grant – (Role: PI); 01/01/2015-12/31/2017: $50,000.00. – Title: Brain circuits underlying the antidepressant-like and abuse-related effects of ketamine
Lectures and Presentations
Ketamine and Beyond: Novel Treatments for Major Depressive Disorder – Pharmaceutical Sciences School seminar, UFRGS – Porto Alegre RS, Brazil – 2016 BDNF Receptor Signaling is Differentially Altered by Novel Antidepressants – ASPET Symposium speaker at Experimental Biology 2016, San Diego, CA Brain circuits underlying the antidepressant response to ketamine: preclinical studies – Department of Pharmacology Seminar – UT Health San Antonio – 2015 Current Approaches and Technologies to Study Antidepressant Drugs in the Laboratory – UT Health San Antonio Voelcker Biosciences Teacher Academy 5th Annual Spring Conference – San Antonio, TX – 2014 How we study antidepressant drugs in the laboratory – UT Health San Antonio Health Professions Fair & Science Expo – 2013 Life as a scientist – Special presentation to R25 students/Round table – UT Health San Antonio – 2013


Ketamine: Leading us into the future for development of antidepressants.
Carreno FR, Lodge DJ, Frazer A.
Behav Brain Res. 2020 Apr 6;383:112532. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2020.112532. Epub 2020 Feb 2. PMID: 32023492

Mechanisms associated with the antidepressant-like effects of L-655,708.
Bugay V, McCoy AM, Lodge DJ, Brenner R, Frazer A, Carreno FR.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2020 Dec;45(13):2289-2298. doi: 10.1038/s41386-020-0772-2. Epub 2020 Jul 20. PMID: 32688367

Positive allosteric modulation of α5-GABAA receptors reverses stress-induced alterations in dopamine system function and prepulse inhibition of startle.
McCoy AM, Prevot TD, Mian MY, Cook JM, Frazer A, Sibille EL, Carreno FR, Lodge DJ.
Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2022 Jun 22:pyac035. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyac035. PMID: 35732272

Vagal Nerve Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression
Carreno FR, Frazer A.
(2017) Neurotherapeutics Jul;14(3):716-727.

Selective pharmacological augmentation of hippocampal activity produces a sustained antidepressant-like response without abuse-related or psychotomimetic effects
Carreno FR, Collins GT, Frazer A, Lodge JD. (2017)
Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. Jun 1;20(6):504-509.