Christoph Straub

Christoph Straub, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences

Project Leader, COBRE


Stella Maris Hall 203
Biddeford Campus
On campus


Dr. Straub received his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Giessen in Germany, and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Yale University. Following a research fellowship with Dr. B. Sabatini at Harvard Medical School, he was a visiting faculty at Bowdoin College, before joining the University of New England in 2019, where he is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. His research focuses on on functional microcircuits within the brain. His lab utilizes electrophysiological and optical approaches, combined with cell biology and biochemistry, to address basic questions of cellular functions in local brain circuits. A specific emphasis is on how central microcircuits are altered by chronic pain.



Diploma Biology
Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany
Yale University

Post-Doctoral Training

Post-Doctoral Training, Department of Neurobiology
Harvard Medical School (Boston, Massachusetts)


Current research

Our current research is focused on the central prepresentation of chronic pain, and how microcircuits within the brain adapt to and cause the transition from acute to chronic pain, as well as relief from pain. In parallel, we try to better understand general organization principles of synaptic signaling in the brain, and how these organization principles determine neuronal function.

Selected publications

  • Piatkevich KD, Jung EE, Straub C, Linghu C, Park D, Suk HJ, Hochbaum DR, Goodwin D, Pnevmatikakis E, Pak N, Kawashima T, Yang CT, Rhoades JL, Shemesh O, Asano S, Yoon YG, Freifeld L, Saulnier JL, Riegler C, Engert F, Hughes T, Drobizhev M, Szabo B, Ahrens MB, Flavell SW, Sabatini BL, Boyden ES. A robotic multidimensional directed evolution approach applied to fluorescent voltage reporters. Nat Chem Biol. 2018 Apr;14(4):352-360.
  • Straub C, Saulnier JL, Bègue A, Feng DD, Huang KW, Sabatini BL. Principles of Synaptic Organization of GABAergic Interneurons in the Striatum. Neuron. 2016 Oct 5;92(1):84-92.
  • Straub C, Noam Y, Nomura T, Yamasaki M, Yan D, Fernandes HB, Zhang P, Howe JR, Watanabe M, Contractor A, Tomita S. Distinct Subunit Domains Govern Synaptic Stability and Specificity of the Kainate Receptor. Cell Rep. 2016 Jul 12;16(2):531-544.
  • Gross GG, Straub C, Perez-Sanchez J, Dempsey WP, Junge JA, Roberts RW, Trinh le A, Fraser SE, De Koninck Y, De Koninck P, Sabatini BL, Arnold DB. An E3-ligase-based method for ablating inhibitory synapses. Nat Methods. 2016 Aug;13(8):673-8.
  • Straub C, Granger AJ, Saulnier JL, Sabatini BL. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knock-down in post-mitotic neurons. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 20;9(8)
  • Straub C, Tritsch NX, Hagan NA, Gu C, Sabatini BL. Multiphasic modulation of cholinergic interneurons by nigrostriatal afferents. J Neurosci. 2014 Jun 18;34(25):8557-69.
  • Yan D, Yamasaki M, Straub C, Watanabe M, Tomita S. Homeostatic control of synaptic transmission by distinct glutamate receptors. Neuron. 2013 May 22;78(4):687-99.
  • Straub C, Hunt DL, Yamasaki M, Kim KS, Watanabe M, Castillo PE, Tomita S. Distinct functions of kainate receptors in the brain are determined by the auxiliary subunit Neto1. Nat Neurosci. 2011 May 29;14(7):866-73.
  • Straub C, Zhang W, Howe JR. Neto2 modulation of kainate receptors with different subunit compositions. J Neurosci. 2011 Jun 1;31(22):8078-82.
  • Zhang W, St-Gelais F, Grabner CP, Trinidad JC, Sumioka A, Morimoto-Tomita M, Kim KS, Straub C, Burlingame AL, Howe JR, Tomita S. A transmembrane accessory subunit that modulates kainate-type glutamate receptors. Neuron. 2009 Feb 12;61(3):385-96.
  • Morimoto-Tomita M, Zhang W, Straub C, Cho CH, Kim KS, Howe JR, Tomita S. Autoinactivation of neuronal AMPA receptors via glutamate-regulated TARP interaction. Neuron. 2009 Jan 15;61(1):101-12.

Research interests

Basal ganglia, reward circuitry, chronic pain, synaptic inhibition

Research topics

Animal Model
COM Medical Education
COM Neuroscience and Pain
Drug Interactions
Genetic Engineering
Transgenic Mice

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