Dr. Araneda is a Professor in the Biology Department of the University of Maryland at College Park, where he is also member of the Brain and Behavior Institute (BBI).

Dr. Araneda received his PhD in Neuroscience from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York (1997). He completed his postdoctoral training at Columbia University, where he was also an Associate Research Scientist (1997-2006). 




  • PhD
    1997 Albert Einstein College of Medicine
In the classroom, as in the lab, my teaching philosophy is to guide and inspire the scientific curiosity in my students by actively engaging them in an intellectually enriching environment. I believe basic principles in any scientific field need to be stated in a clear way, therefore I focus on basic concepts as the backbone of my lectures. However, my primary role as a science teacher is not only to teach facts, but also to encourage students, through active discussions, to question and discover.
"Neurobiology of Chemosensory Systems"  (BIOL708, NACS728J, BSCI339D)
"Neuroscience Cognitive Science Seminar" (Instructor of record) (NACS608)
"Neural Systems" (BSCI446)
"Seminar in Physiology" (BSCI279)
Past courses:
"Introduction to Neuroscience" (NACS641)
"Mammalian Physiology" (BSCI440)
"Gemstone: Team Dream" (GEMS296)

My long-term research goal is to understand the mechanisms by which neuromodulation drives the activity of neurons, and ultimately behavior. Specifically, we use olfaction as a model system to learn how neuromodulators such as noradrenaline and acetylcholine influence sensory processing.  Using several techniques, including electrophysiology, imaging, and the targeted expression of optogenetic and chemogenetics tools, we  control the activity of neuromodulatory systems that regulate olfactory circuits. One of our aims is to determine how these neuromodulators influence odor-guided behaviors. Interestingly, olfactory circuits are exceptionally plastic; they are among the few in the brain  known to be replenished with adult born neurons. This gives us the unique opportunity to study how neuromodulators influence the integration of adult born neurons in a preexisting brain circuit.

Since 2003 Dr. Araneda has received continuous funding support from the National Institute of Health.

Follow us on Twitter @AranedaLab


Research Methods
Fluorescence Imaging
Conditional genetics models
Optogenetic and Chemogenetic manipulations
Research Interests
Synaptic Transmission
Sensory Processing
Neural Circuits

In addition to his participation in several departamental and University committees, Dr. Araneda has an extensive record of training undergraduate and graduate students at UMD.  Graduate students in the lab have performed exceptionally in several fronts, including obtaining fellowships from the National Foundation of Science, French and Chilean Government.

In 2014, Dr. Araneda received the Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award from the UMD Graduate School and the The Winston Family Academic Excellence Faculty Mentor Award from the UMD Honors College.

Current Students

Former Students

  • Student Name
    Ruilong Hu
    Current Position
    Postdoc Affiliate, Harvard University
  • Student Name
    Alexia Nunez
    Current Position
    Assistant Professor, Universidad de Chile
  • Student Name
    Aybike Saglam
    Current Position
    Postdoc Affiliate, Stanford University
Dr. Ricardo Araneda
1114 Bioscience Research Building
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
raraneda [at] umd.edu
Office Hours
Please send an email for an appointment