Maribel Rios

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Maribel Rios
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San Juan, Puerto Rico
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • PhD Cell
  • Molecular
  • Developmental Biology
  • Post-doctoral training
Alma mater
  • Boston University
  • Tufts University

Maribel Rios is a neuroscientist originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico.[1]. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience from Boston University, followed by a Doctor of Philosophy in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology from the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.[2] Dr. Rios continued her studies by attending the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she completed her post-doctoral training in genetics[3]. Following her education, she returned to Tufts where she currently serves as a Professor of Neuroscience[4].

Early life and education

Early life

Maribel Rios grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and lived there until she was 18 years old[1]. Her father was the first one in his immediate family to go to college. He was able to do this through the G.I. Bill because of his service in the Korean War.[1]


From kindergarten to high school, she attended Academia Santa Monica in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico[1]. Dr. Rios moved from Puerto Rico to Boston where she attended Boston University as a psychology pre-med major[1]. The summer after her junior year of undergrad, she worked in a hematology lab at Harvard University[1]. From 1991 to 1997, she attended graduate school at Tufts University and earned her PhD in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology. From 1997 to 2002, she completed her postdoctoral training at the Whitehead Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology[3].


Dr. Rios works on the Brain-derived neurotrophic factor|brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a member of the neurotrophin family that signals through the Tropomyosin receptor kinase B|TrkB receptor. Dr Rios' lab studies how the depletion of BDNF in the brain affects weight, more specifically how this depletion leads to severe obesity in mice[5][6][7][8][9] [10]Rios lab demonstrated that BDNF is a satiety signal.[11]Rios lab also discovered the role of estrogen in glucose metabolism that may explain the increased risk for diabetes in post-menopausal women [12] Rios lab recently uncovered the potential mechanism behind gabapentin-mediated appetite increase.[13]

Dr. Rios currently serves as the director of the Tufts Postbaccalaureate Research Ed Program (PREP), an National Institutes of Health program geared towards increasing diversity in the biomedical sciences [14].

Personal life

Dr. Rios is an amateur woodworker[1]. In her free time, she resorts to the space in her house dedicated to creating various wood projects. Additionally, she likes to be outdoors and be active with her rescue dog, Oliver[1]. During her spare time, Dr. Rios also enjoys cooking and traveling[1].


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "Episode 18: Maribel Rios, PhD". Conjugate: Illustration and Science Blog. Retrieved 2021-11-29.
  2. "Maribel Rios". Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. 2018-04-09. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Whitehead Institute of MIT". Whitehead Institute of MIT. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  4. "Neuroscience Faculty". Tufts University School of Medicine. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  5. "New Player in Obesity Uncovered". Medindia. 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  6. "Las neurotrofinas, proteínas clave en diversos procesos y enfermedades". Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  7. "Neuroscience study uncovers new player in obesity". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 2021-11-29.
  8. Rios, Maribel (February 2013). "BDNF and the central control of feeding: accidental bystander or essential player?". Trends in Neurosciences. 36 (2): 83–90. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2012.12.009. ISSN 1878-108X. PMC 3568936. PMID 23333344.
  9. "Dr Maribel Rios". ABC Radio National. 2008-03-19. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  10. Retrieved 2021-12-06. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. "Overeating And Obesity Triggered By Lack Of One Gene". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  12. FeaturedNeuroscience· (2020-08-06). "Sex-Specific Differences in Neural Mechanisms for Glucose Regulation Discovered". Neuroscience News. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  13. "Lab Notes: A New Way to Mend a Broken Heart". 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  14. "Title". Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. 2017-10-24. Retrieved 2021-12-06.

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