Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology

Margarita C. Currás-Collazo

Sample Profile Graphic
Phone: (951) 827-3960
Fax: (951) 827-3087
Office Location: 3113 Biological Sciences
Email: mcur@ucr.edu

Margarita C. Curras-Collazo

Associate Professor of Neuroscience


  • B.S., Biology and Psychology with Honors, Tulane University, 1983
  • Ph.D., Medical Physiology, The Ohio State University, 1989
  • Postdoctoral, 1989-92
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    (American Epilepsy Society Research Fellow 1990-92)
  • Postdoctoral, 1992-93
    NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Emory University


  • My research focuses on understanding the adverse health effects of environmental toxicants and natural chemicals on nervous and other physiological systems. Three specific projects involve the impact of developmental exposure to flame retardant pollutants on blood pressure and autonomic responses to stress; environmental factors that influence social behavior in rodents; mechanistic investigations of the effects of diet on obesity and diabetes.

Research Group

Graduate Students
  • Kurt Spurgin - Ph.D., Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Matt Valdez - Ph.D., Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Cary Coburn - Ph.D., Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program

Representative Publications

  • Currás, M. C., S. R. Kelso, and J. A. Boulant.  Intracellular analysis of inherent and synaptic activity in hypothalamic thermosensitive neurones in the rat.  Journal of Physiology 440:257-271, 1991.
  • Currás, M. C. and R. J. Dingledine. 1992.  Selectivity of amino acid transmitters acting at  NMDA and AMPA receptors.  Molecular Pharmacology 41:520-526
  • Currás, M. C. and B. S. Pallotta. 1996.   Single-channel evidence for glycine and NMDA requirement in NMDA receptor activation.  Brain Research 740:27-40.
  • Decavel, C. and M. C. Currás.1997.   Increased expression of the NMDA receptor subunit, NR1, in immunohistochemically identified magnocellular hypothalamic neurons during dehydration.  Neuroscience 78(1):191-202.
  • Currás, M. C., P. Rack and R. B. Meeker. 1998.   Channel properties of NMDA glutamate  receptors on magnocellular neuroendocrine cells cultured from the rat supraoptic nucleus.  Brain Research 789:181-193.  (cover article)
  • Khan, A.M., B.G. Stanley, L. Bozzetti, C. Chin and M.C. Currás-Collazo. 2000. The NMDA receptor subunit NR2B is widely expressed throughout the rat diencephalon: An immunohistochemical study. Journal of Comparative Neurology, Vol. 428(3):428-449.
  • Currás-Collazo, M.C., U. Patel and M. O. Hussein. Reduced susceptibility of rat magnocellular neuroendocrine nuclei to transient focal ischemia produced by middle cerebral artery occlusion.  Experimental Neurology 178(2): 268-279, 2002.
  • Coburn, C.G., Gillard, E.R. and M.C. Currás-Collazo. 2005. Dietary exposure to Aroclor 1254 alters central and peripheral vasopressin release in response to dehydration in the rat. Toxicological Sciences, Vol. 84 (1):149-56.
  • Qiu, S., Pak, C.-W. and M.C. Currás-Collazo. Sequential involvement of distinct glutamate receptors in domoic acid-induced neurotoxicity in rat mixed cortical cultures: effect of multiple dose/duration paradigms, chronological age and repeated exposure.  Toxicological Sciences Vol. 89(1):243-56, 2006.
  • Gillard, E.R., M. Leon-Olea, S. Mucio-Ramirez, C. Coburn, A. DeLeon, H. Mussenden, L. Bauce, Q. Pittman, and M. C. Currás-Collazo. 2006. A novel role for endogenous pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide in the magnocellular neuroendocrine system. Endocrinology 147(2):791-803.
  • Gillard, E.R., Coburn, C.G., de Leon, A., Snissarenko, E.P., Bauce, L.G., Pittman, Q.J., Hou, B. and M.C. Currás-Collazo. 2007. Vasopressin autoreceptors and nitric oxide-dependent glutamate release are required for somatodendritic vasopressin release from rat magnocellular neuroendpcrine cells responding to osmotic stimuli. Endocrinology 148(2):479-89.
  • Obenaus, A., Galloway, N., Robbins, M., Blanco, G., Snissarenko, E., Gillard, E., Lee, S. and M. Currás-Collazo. Multi-modal resonance imaging alterations in two rat models of mild neurotrauma. J Neurotrauma. 24(7):1147-60, 2007.
  • Coburn, C.G., Currás-Collazo, M.C. and P. R. S. Kodavanti. 2007. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) and Ortho-substituted Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) as Neuroendocrine Disruptors of Vasopressin Release: Effects during Physiological Activation in vitro and Structure-Activity Relationships. Toxicol. Sci. 98(1): 178-186.
  • Coburn, C.G., Currás-Collazo, M.C. and P. R. S. Kodavanti. 2008. In Vitro effects of environmentally relevant polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners on calcium buffering mechanisms in rat brain. Neurochem Res., Vol 33(2):355-65. Special issue honor Dr. Frode Fonnum
  • Qiu, S., Jebelli, A.K., Ashe, J. H. and Currás-Collazo, M.C. 2009. Domoic acid induces a long-lasting enhancement of CA1 field responses and impairs tetanus-induced long-term potentiation in rat hippocampal slices. Toxicol. Sci., Vol. 111(1):140-50. Best Publication Award, UC Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program, 2009.
  • Shah, A, Coburn, C., Watson-Siroboe, A., Whitley, R., Shahidizadeh, A., Gillard, E.R., Nichol, R., Leon-Olea, M., Gaertner, M., Kodavanti, P.R. and M.C. Currás-Collazo. 2011. Altered cardiovascular reactivity and osmoregulation during hyperosmotic stress in adult rats developmentally exposed to PBDEs. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Vol. 256: 103-113.
  • Martins-Green, M., Frankos, M., Adhami, N., Valdez, M., Goodwin, B., Garcia, M., Egiebor, I., Martinez, B., Dhall, S., Jacob III, P. Havel, C., Yu, L. and M.C. Currás-Collazo. 2014. Cigarette smoke toxins on surfaces are a major health threat. PLoS One, Vol. 9(1):e86391. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086391. eCollection 2014.
  • Coburn, C.G., Watson-Siriboe, A., Hou, B., Cheetham, C.C., Lin, L., Gillard, E.R., Lin, L., M. León-Olea, E. Sánchez-Islas, S. Mucio-Ramírez and M.C. Currás-Collazo. 2015. Permanently compromised NADPH-diaphorase activity within the osmotically activated supraoptic nucleus after in utero but not adult exposure to Aroclor 1254. NeuroToxicology, Vo. 47C:37-46. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2014.12.009.

Recent Reviews

  • Kodavanti, P.R.S. and M.C. Currás-Collazo. 2010. Neuroendocrine Actions of Organohalogens: Thyroid Hormones, Arginine Vasopressin, and Neuroplasticity. Front. Neuroendocrinol., 31(4):479-96. (Special issue in honor of Dr. Frode Fonnum)
  • Currás-Collazo, M. 2011. Nitric Oxide as a central target of neuroendocrine disruption and neurotoxicity by organohalogens. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health, Current Issues, 14(5-7):495-536.

Courses Taught

  • CBNS 106 Introduction to Neuroscience
  • CBNS 120 Cellular Neuroscience: Membrane and Synaptic Phenomena
  • CBNS 124 Systems Neuroscience
  • CBNS 129 Brain Control of Bodily Functions
  • CBNS 135 Educational Outreach Training in Neuroscience
  • NRSC 201 Neuroscience Laboratory

Graduate Program Affiliation and Research Focus Areas

Research Focus Areas
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Neuropeptides and Behavior
  • Toxicology of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
  • Toxicology of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)

  • Neuroscience
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Environmental Toxicology

Honors and Awards

Dr. Curras-Collazo's honors include the Faculty Fellowship, UC Regents, 1994-1995), Distinguished Faculty Mentor, Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research (UCR, 2000-2001), Faculty Mentor of the Year (UCR Honors Program, 2001-2002), Distinguished Teaching Award (UCR, 2009-2010), Best Publication Award (UC Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program, 2009), McKnight Progressive Educator Award (American Physiological Society, 2013), Teaching Career Enhancement Award (American Physiological Society, 2013).

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department Information

Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology
2111 Biological Sciences Bldg.

Manuela Martins-Green: Chair of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology
Tel: (951) 827-2831
Fax: (951) 827-3087
E-mail: manuela.martins@ucr.edu