Current Fellows

Jorge A. Avila, Ph.D.

Brain Health Institute,
Rutgers University

School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ


B.S. Psychology – The Pennsylvania State University, Middletown, PA

Ph.D. Behavioral Neuroscience – The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Hunter College

INSPIRE fellow, Brain Health Institute — Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ


Research Mentor: Gary Aston-Jones, Ph.D. 
My research is focused on molecular mechanisms within the orexin system and their role in addiction. Specifically, I am interested in identifying the signaling pathways that promote orexin recruitment in rodent models of cocaine addiction.




Avila, J. A., Alliger, A. A., Carvajal, B., Zanca, R. M., Serrano, P. A., & Luine, V. N. (2017). Estradiol rapidly increases GluA2‐mushroom spines and decreases GluA2‐filopodia spines in hippocampus CA1. Hippocampus.

Avila, J. A., Zanca, R. M., Shor D., Paleologos N., Alliger, A. A., Figueiredo-Pereira M.E., & Serrano, P.A. (2018) Chronic voluntary oral methamphetamine induces deficits in spatial learning and hippocampal protein kinase Mzeta (PKMζ) with enhanced astrogliosis and cyclooxygenase-2 levels. Heliyon.

Zanca R. M., Sanay S., Avila J. A., Rodriguez E., Shair H. N, Serrano P.A. (2018) Contextual fear memory modulates PSD95 phosphorylation, AMPAr subunits, PKMzeta and PI3K differentially between adult and juvenile rats. Neurobiology of Stress

Avila J. A., Kiprowska M., Jean-Louis T., Rockwell P., Figueiredo-Pereira M.E, & Serrano, P.A. (2020) PACAP27 mitigates an age‐dependent hippocampal vulnerability to PGJ2‐induced spatial learning deficits and neuroinflammation in mice. Brain and Behavior.