Universidad del Sagrado Corazón


Francisco Arencibia-Albite, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Exercise Sciences and Health Promotion, Biology and Mathematics

Ext 4600

Dr. Francisco Arencibia-Albite completed a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Promotion Sciences at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. Later, at that institution, he completed degrees in Mathematics and Biology and has a master’s degree in Physiology from the School of Medicine of the Universidad Central del Caribe in Bayamón. From this date and to the present, he has worked as a professor at Sagrado, teaching courses in Exercise Sciences, Biology and Mathematics, and as a researcher in the areas of biophysics, electrophysiology and computational neuroscience at the Medical Sciences Campus at the University of Puerto Rico (RCM). In 2013 he completed doctoral studies in Physiology and Biophysics at RCM.

Arencibia has published seven times in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and has presented original mathematical models in weight control, vertical jump, and neural function at local and international symposiums. He has also served as a referee for the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine and the “Journal of Neurophysiology”. His main interest as a researcher is the development of mathematical models that explain neuronal function.

His most outstanding achievement in this field was published in 2017 in a collaboration between Sagrado and the RCM. Using bioelectrical measurements performed on cocaine-exposed rats, he developed an original mathematical model showing that prolonged exposure to the psychostimulant causes a dramatic reduction in the size of brainstem neurons involved in dopamine production; neurochemical necessary for the expression of pleasure and psychomotor processes. This finding is not only relevant for the neurobiology of addiction, but Arencibia and colleagues are the first neuroscientists worldwide to demonstrate such an effect. They propose that this finding could explain why cocaine addicts escalate their use of the drug, abandoning sporadic and recreational use and falling into compulsive use.

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