Pilot Projects

2016 Pilot Grant Recipients

The UNE Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for the Study of Pain and Sensory Function was established in 2012 through funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The Center’s mission is to significantly contribute to the scientific understanding of the neurobiology of chronic pain. The annual pilot project awards aids in this mission by supporting new projects at UNE in the field of sensory and pain research. This award also helps build the neuroscience research community at UNE. The 2015 pilot awards were supported in part by the COBRE 5P20GM103643, UNE’s Office of Sponsored Research, and Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences.

Meghan May, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

PROJECT TITLE

Mechanisms of Infection-Mediated Pain

PROJECT SUMMARY

Pain during infection was once thought to stem exclusively from inflammation and tissue damage; however, recent studies have indicated bacteria may directly stimulate nociceptors during infection. Such evidence raises the possibility that there are pain inducing and non-pain inducing bacteria. Dr. May’s pilot project is centered on characterizing microbial components that either stimulate or antagonize nociception. Dr. May will use three pathogens associated with inducing pain (Streptococcus pyogenes, uropathogenic Escherichia coli and Mycoplasma fermentans) and three beneficial commensal organisms (Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Escherichia coli and Mycoplasma pirum) to determine the mechanisms behind their actions. Dr. May’s project is in collaboration with Tamara King, Ph.D., associate professor in the Biomedical Science Department. Derek Molliver, Ph.D., is her COBRE mentor for this project. 

Kerry Tucker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

PROJECT TITLE

Primary cilia in nociceptive DRG neurons: Potential links to acute and chronic pain

PROJECT SUMMARY

The goal of Dr. Tucker’s pilot project is to investigate a possible role for primary cilia on nociceptive neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) in modulating nociceptive signaling in acute and chronic pain situations. Primary cilia are short hair-like structures protruding from the surface of almost every cell in the body defective cilia, or ciliopathies, are known to play an essential role in a wide variety of neuronal functions. Sensory neurons of the DRG elaborate robust primary cilia at their soma as soon as they are formed and settle into the DRG at mid-gestation. Dr. Tucker initial investigation will look at the role that primary cilia play in the development and function of nociceptive neurons in current murine models which are already known to lose their cilia after they take residence in the DRG. Edward Bilsky, Ph.D., is his COBRE mentor on this project.

2015 Pilot Grant Recipients

Michael Burman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences

PROJECT TITLE

Effects of Early Life Pain on Subsequent Fear Conditioning and Sensory Function

Meghan May, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

PROJECT TITLE

Mechanisms of Infection-Mediated Pain

Kerry Tucker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

PROJECT TITLE

Primary cilia in nociceptive DRG neurons: Potential links to acute and chronic pain

Katherine Hanlon, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

PROJECT TITLE

Resident DRG Macrophages: Impact on Nociceptor Responses

Katherine Rudolph, P.T., Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the Westbrook College of Health Professions

PROJECT TITLE

Chronic Pain, Motor Output and Motor Learning in Knee Osteoarthritis

 

2014 Pilot Grant Recipients

Glenn Stevenson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences.
View bio

Tamara King, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine. View bio

Project Title

Characterization of Delta/Mu Opioid Receptor Interactions on Chronic Osteoarthritis Pain-depressed Behaviors

John Streicher, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine. View bio

Project Title

Identification of the Activated Signaling Complex of the Mu Opioid Receptor

   2013 Pilot Grant Recipients 

Tamara King, Ph.D.

 Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

 

Project Title: 

Peripheral Mechanisms of Ongoing Osteoarthritis Pain

John Streicher, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine. 


Project Title: 

Identification of the Activated Signaling Complex of the Mu Opioid Receptor