Dr. Do Monte received his bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine from Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina in Brazil (2002), and his master’s and PhD degrees (general pharmacology and neuropharmacology) from Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Brazil, under the mentorship of Dr. Antônio P. Carobrez. His master dissertation was directed to understand the mechanisms involved in the expression of both innate and learned fear memories (2006). His doctorate thesis was focused on elucidating the noradrenergic mechanisms mediating the extinction and reconsolidation of aversive memories (2010). As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Gregory Quirk’s laboratory in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Puerto Rico, Dr. Do Monte investigated the neural circuits regulating the retrieval of fear memories and the crucial role of the passage of time in the reorganization of these memories. During his postdoctoral training, he was awarded the prestigious “NIH pathway to independence award (K99/R00)” from the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Do Monte became an Assistant Professor in the McGovern Medical School at UTH in 2016, where he has recently been awarded a Rising STARs Award from the UT System.

Areas of Interest

Research Interests

The Do Monte Lab focuses on understanding the neural circuits and mechanisms underlying emotional memories. We are particularly interested in elucidating how fear- and reward-associated memories interact to generate the most adaptive behavioral responses. Using a multidisciplinary approach in rats, we combine optogenetic, in vivo electrophysiological recording, pharmacological, immunohistochemical, and imaging techniques to investigate the mechanisms involved in balancing fear and reward stimuli, with emphasis on the innate defensive responses induced by predator cues.

The mammalian brain has an exceptional ability to associate aversive and rewarding stimuli with environmental cues. The correct discrimination between harmful and beneficial stimuli allows an organism to select the most appropriate response, thereby protecting it from danger. In humans, inappropriate retrieval of reward associated memories is the framework for substance abuse, whereas inappropriate retrieval of fear/aversive memories can lead to the development of anxiety disorders. Understanding the neural circuits mediating the integration of fear- and reward-associated memories may uncover more effective therapies for patients suffering from both anxiety and substance-related addictive disorders.


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  • Fernandez-León*, JA; Engelke*, DS; Aquino-Miranda*, G; Goodson, A; Do Monte, FH. Neural correlates and determinants of approach-avoidance conflict in the prelimbic prefrontal cortex. Under review. (available in bioRxivs 2021.05.27.445881). view PDF
  • De Oliveira-Alvares, L and Do Monte, FH. Understanding the dynamic and destiny of memories. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 125, 592-607, 2021. view PDF
  • Engelke, DS; Zhang, XO; O’Malley, J; Fernandez-Leon, JA; Li, S; Kirouac, GJ; Beierlein, M; Do Monte, FH. A Hypothalamic-thalamostriatal circuit that controls approach-avoidance conflict in rats. Nature Communications. 12(1):2517, 2021. view PDF
  • Chen, Y; Ma, N; Pei, Z; Wu, Z; Do Monte, FH; Keefel, S; Yellin, E; Chen, M; Yin, J; Lee, G; Minier-Toribio, A; Hu, Y; Bai, Y; Lee, K; Quirk, GJ; Chen, G. A NeuroD1 AAV-based gene therapy for functional brain repair after ischemic injury through in vivo astrocyte-to-neuron conversion. Molecular Therapy; 28(1), 237-234, 2020.  view PDF
  • Do Monte, FH and Kirouac, GJ. Boosting of Thalamic D2 Dopaminergic Transmission: A Potential Strategy for Drug-Seeking Attenuation. eNeuro, 21;4(6), 2017.
  • Do Monte, FH*; Minier-Toribio*, A; Quiñones-Laracuente, K; Medina-Colón, EM; Quirk, GJ. Thalamic regulation of sucrose-seeking during unexpected reward omission. Neuron, 94(2):388–400.e4, 2017
  • Martínez-Rivera, FJ; Rodríguez-Romaguera, J; Lloret-Torres, ME; Do Monte, FH; Quirk GJ, Barreto-Estrada, JL. Bidirectional modulation of extinction of drug seeking by deep brain stimulation of the ventral striatum. Biological Psychiatry, 80 (9):682-690, 2016.
  • Do Monte, FH; Quirk, GJ; Li, B; Penzo, MA. Retrieving fear memories, as time goes by.  Molecular Psychiatry, 21(8):1027-1036, 2016. view PDF
  • Rosas-Vidal, LE; Rodriguez-Romaguera, J; Do Monte, FH; Andero, R. Targeting the reconsolidation of extinction memories: a novel potential strategy to treat anxiety disorders. Molecular Psychiatry, 20(11):1264-5, 2015. view PDF
  • Do Monte, FH*; Manzano-Nieves*, G; Quiñones-Laracuente, K; Ramos-Medina, L; Quirk, GJ. Revisiting the role of infralimbic cortex in fear extinction with optogenetics. The Journal of Neuroscience, 35(8):3607-3615, 2015. view PDF (Top 1% most cited paper in the academic field 12 months following publication, according to Web of Science).
  • Do Monte, FH; Quiñones-Laracuente, K; Quirk GJ. A temporal shift in the circuits mediating retrieval of fear memory. Nature, 519(7544):460-463, 2015. view PDF (Top 1% most cited paper in the academic field 12 months following publication, according to Web of Science)
    • Commentary featured in the journal “Nature Reviews Neuroscience”: Yates, D. (2015). Neural circuits: a nucleus of fear. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 16, 121). view PDF
  • Rodriguez-Romaguera, J; Do Monte, FH; Tanimura, Y; Quirk, GJ; Haber, SN. Deep brain stimulation enhancement of fear extinction: evidence for medial orbitofrontal involvement. Neuropsychopharmacology, 40(7):1726-1733, 2015. view PDF
  • Bravo-Rivera, C; Diehl, MM;  Roman-Ortiz, C; Rodriguez-Romaguera, J; Rosas-Vidal, LE; Bravo-Rivera, H; Quiñones-Laracuente, K and Do Monte, FH. Long-range GABAergic neurons in the prefrontal cortex modulate behavior. Journal of Neurophysiology, 114:1357-1359, 2014. view PDF
  • Rosas-Vidal, LE; Do Monte, FH; Sotres-Bayon, F; Quirk, GJ. Hippocampal-prefrontal BDNF and memory for fear extinction, Neuropsychopharmacology, 39(9): 2161-2169, 2014. view PDF
  • Do Monte, FH; Rodriguez-Romaguera, J; Rosas-Vidal, LE; Quirk, GJ. Deep brain stimulation of the ventral striatum increases BDNF in the fear extinction circuit. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 7:102, 2013.
  • Do Monte, FH; Souza, RR; Bitencourt, RM; Kroon, JA; Takahashi, RN. Infusion of cannabidiol into infralimbic cortex facilitates fear extinction via CB1 receptors. Behavioral Brain Research, 250c:23-27, 2013.
  • Do Monte, FH*; Souza, RR*; Wong, TT; Carobrez, AP. Systemic or intra-prelimbic cortex infusion of prazosin impairs fear memory reconsolidation. Behavioral Brain Research, 244:137-141, 2013. view PDF
  • Rodriguez-Romaguera, J*; Do Monte, FH*; Quirk GJ. Deep brain stimulation of the ventral striatum enhances extinction of conditioned fear. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science – USA, 109(22):8764-8769, 2012. view PDF
  • Padilla-Coreano*, N; Do Monte, FH*; Quirk, GJ. A time-dependent role of midline thalamic nuclei in the retrieval of fear memory. Neuropharmacology, 62(1):457-463, 2012. view PDF
  • Do Monte, FH; Kincheski, G; Pavesi, E; Sordi, R; Assreuy, J; Carobrez, AP. Role of beta-adrenergic receptors in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex during contextual fear extinction in rats. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 94(3):318-328, 2010. view PDF
  • Stern, CA; Do Monte, FH; Gazarini, L; Carobrez, AP; Bertoglio, LJ. Activity in prelimbic cortex is required for adjusting the anxiety response level during the elevated plus-maze retest. Neuroscience, 170:214 – 222, 2010. view PDF
  • Do Monte, FH; Allensworth, M; Carobrez, AP. Impairment of contextual conditioned fear extinction after microinjection of alpha-1-adrenergic blocker prazosin into the medial prefrontal cortex. Behavioral Brain Research, 211:85 – 95, 2010. view PDF
  • Do Monte, FH; Canteras, NS; Fernandes, D; Assreuy, J; Carobrez, AP. New perspectives in beta-adrenergic mediation of innate and learned fear response to predator odor. The Journal of Neuroscience, 28(49):13296-13302, 2008. view PDF
  • Canteras, NS; Kroon, JA; Do Monte, FH; Pavesi, E; Carobrez, AP. Sensing danger through the olfactory system: the role of the hypothalamic dorsal premammillary nucleus. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 32:1228-1235, 2008. view PDF
  • Santos Jr, JG; Blanco, MM; Do Monte, FH; Russi, MA; Lanziotti, VM; Leal, LK; Cunha, GM. Sedative and anticonvulsant effects of hydroalcoholic extract of Equisetum arvense. Fitoterapia, 76:508-513, 2005. view PDF
  • Santos Jr, JG; Do Monte, FH; Blanco, MM; Lanziotti, VM; Maia, FD; Leal, LK. Cognitive enhancement in aged rats after chronic administration of Equisetum arvense L. with demonstrated antioxidant properties in vitro. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 81:593-600, 2005.  view PDF
  • Santos Jr, JG; Tabosa, A; Do Monte, FH; Blanco, MM; Freire, AO; Mello, LE. Electroacupuncture prevents cognitive deficits in pilocarpine-epileptic rats. Neuroscience Letters, 384:234-238, 2005. view PDF
  • Do Monte, FH; Santos Jr, JG; Russi, MA; Lanziotti, VM; Leal, LK; Cunha, GM. Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties of the hydroalcoholic extract of stems from Equisetum arvense L. in mice. Pharmacological Research, 49:239 – 243, 2004. view PDF
  • Santos Jr, JG; Do Monte, FH; Russi, MA, Augustine, P, Lanziotti,VM. Proconvulsant effects of high doses of venlafaxine in pentylenetetrazole-convulsive rats. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 35:469 – 472, 2002. view PDF


* denotes equal authorship