COBRE Pilot Awards

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. To date, three of these pilot projects have led to extramural awards.

2019 COBRE Pilot Projects

The 2019 pilot awards were supported by the COBRE 5P20GM103643, and the Office of Research and Scholarship.

GLENN STEVENSON, PH.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences

Co-Investigator
Meghan May, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title
Effects of gut microbiome modulation on rheumatoid (RA)- and osteoarthritis (OA)-like pain-related behaviors, and gut microbial diversity/abundance

Project Summary
Recent studies suggest that the integrity and diversity of gut microbiota can influence symptom severity of a broad array of peripheral and central nervous system disorders. This study will explore the effects of gut microbiome modulation and how it influences rheumatoid arthritis-like and osteoarthritis-like pain-related behaviors. Findings from these translational, and chronic, pain manipulations will help determine the effects of widespread dysbiosis using the broad-spectrum antibiotic on the chronic pain manipulations.

CHRISTOPH STRAUB, PH.D.

Assistant Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title
Oxytocin signaling in nucleus accumbens GABAergic interneurons in chronic pain

Project Summary
There is evidence supporting the hypothesis that oxytocin reduces the negative affective component of chronic pain through the activation of NAc GABAergic interneurons. This project will characterize oxytocin signaling in nucleus accumbens GABAergic interneurons ex vitro. The study will also examine the activity of NAc GABAergic interneurons in chronic pain in behaving animals.

DEREK MOLLIVER, PH.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title
Mitochondrial contributions to the development of persistent hyperalgesia

Project Summary
This project examines contributions of mitochondrial signaling in preclinical models of both acute and chronic inflammatory pain. Experiments proposed here will test the contribution of a novel mechanism for the transition to chronic pain, regulation of mitochondrial function by cAMP and its downstream effector, Epac2, elucidate downstream consequences of altered mitochondrial function for nociceptive sensory neurons, and expand our understanding of the regulation of nociceptive signaling by G protein-coupled receptor signaling through adenylyl cyclase in models of acute and prolonged pain.

GEOFFREY GANTER, PH.D.

Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences

Project Title
BMP modulation of injury-induced nociceptive sensitization in rodent and Drosophila

Project Summary
The Ganter Lab has previously shown that in the larval fly's primary nociceptors, the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway responds to injury and mediates sensitization, manifested as thermal allodynia. Due to the strong conservation of BMP components between flies and rodents, this study will look at the BMP pathway and how it mediates injury-induced nociceptive sensitization in the rat.

2018 COBRE Pilot Projects

The 2018 pilot awards were supported by the COBRE 5P20GM103643, and the Office of Research and Scholarship.

GLENN STEVENSON, PH.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences

Co-Investigator
Meghan May, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title
Effects of gut microbiome modulation on inflammatory pain-related behaviors

KERRY TUCKER, PH.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title
Primary cilia in nociceptive DRG neurons: Investigating a role in chronic pain

DEREK MOLLIVER, PH.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Co-Investigators
Tamara King, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine
Ben Harrison, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title
Dynamic scaffolding of mu opioid receptor-associated complexes as a mechanism mediating opioid-induced hyperalgesia

2017 COBRE Pilot Recipients

The 2017 pilot awards were supported by the COBRE 5P20GM103643, and the Office of Research and Scholarship.

GLENN STEVENSON, PH.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences

Co-Investigator
Meghan May, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title
Effects of gut microbiome modulation on inflammatory pain-related behaviors

KERRY TUCKER, PH.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title
Primary cilia in nociceptive DRG neurons: Investigating a role in chronic pain

DEREK MOLLIVER, PH.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Title
Dynamic scaffolding of mu opioid receptor-associated complexes as a mechanism mediating opioid-induced hyperalgesia

GEOFFREY GANTER, PH.D.

Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences

Project Title
Peripheral and central determinants of injury-induced nociceptive sensitization in Drosophila

2016 Pilot Grant Recipients

The 2016 pilot awards were supported by the COBRE 5P20GM103643.

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

2015 Pilot Grant Recipients

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.

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*

*Transitioned to COBRE Project September 2016

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*

*American Pain Society Rita Allen Fellowship Award - Received April 2016

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*

*R15 Grant Awarded April 2016

2014 Pilot Grant Recipients

GLENN STEVENSON, PH.D.

Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences.
View bio

*R15 Grant Awarded September 2014

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*

*Transitioned to COBRE Project October 2014

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

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