The Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for the Study of Pain and Sensory Function

Established in 2012, the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for the Study of Pain and Sensory Function (COBRE) supports a vibrant and collaborative neuroscience research program at UNE. The goal of the center is to increase the scientific understanding of the neurobiology of chronic pain, facilitating the discovery and development of novel therapies.

Through funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences*, the center continues to expand and diversify in exciting ways — recruiting neuroscience faculty to UNE, supporting the work of neuroscience investigators, and launching the research programs of junior faculty via our pilot project program.

The center also supports two state-of-the-art research facilities — the Behavioral Core and the Histology and Imaging Core — which provide expertise, training, and instrumentation to perform cutting-edge research.

If you would like to schedule time at one of our core facilities, or if you have any questions about engaging with the center, please contact Jennifer Malon, M.S., M.P.H., COBRE program coordinator at or (207) 602-2517.

*NIGMS grant # P30GM145497, PI-Meng


  1. Create a critical mass of neuroscience researchers necessary to sustain a vibrant and competitive research center. The center supports promising junior scientists, administers a pilot project grant program to fund additional neuroscience projects, and provides start-up funds for the recruitment of new faculty.
  2. Expand UNE’s neuroscience research infrastructure, providing core facilities that allow investigators to carry out cutting-edge research. Two core facilities, the Behavioral Core and the Histology and Imaging Core, provide researchers access to specialized instrumentation and equipment, as well as the training and expertise needed to use it.

Faculty and Professional Staff

Back row (left to right): Peter Caradonna, Histology and Imaging Core manager; Kerry Tucker, Behavior Core co-director; Denise Giuvelis, Behavior Core manager; Ian Meng, COBRE principle investigator; Derek Molliver, Histology and Imaging Core director; Christoph Straub, COBRE Project Leader; Michael Burman, COBRE project leader; Benjamin Harrison, COBRE Project Leader; Jennifer Malon, COBRE coordinator and evaluator Front row: Megan Tomasch, Ph.D. Candidate in Straub Lab; Makaela Rice, Straub Lab Manager; Emily Addleson, Molliver Lab Manager; Emily Whitaker, Good Lab Manager; Diana Goode, COBRE pilot project recipient; Ling Cao, COBRE graduate and mentor; Geoff Ganter, Histology and Imaging Core co-director; Brad Best, core technician

Advisory Committees

The center is pleased to enlist the advice and expertise of its Steering Committee and External Advisory Board.

Steering Committee

Michael Burman
Professor of Psychology
Project Leader, COBRE
Academic Director, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Geoff Ganter
Professor of Biology
Co-Director, Histology and Imaging Core
default avatar
Assistant Professor
COBRE Pilot Project Recipient
default avatar
Chair, Biomedical Sciences
Headshot of U N E Associate Provost of Research and Scholarship Karen Houseknecht
Professor of Pharmacology
Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship
Tamara King
Professor, Physiology
Core Director, COBRE
Ian Meng
Professor, Physiology
Director, Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for the Study of Pain and Sensory Function
Headshot of U N E COM faculty member Derek Molliver
Director, Histology and Imaging Core

External Advisory Committee

Yves De Koninck, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience; Scientific Director, Quebec Mental Health Institute; Director of Research, Quebec Integrated Health University; Director, Neurophotonics Center, Laval Université, Quebec, Canada

Jon Levine, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry, University of California, San Francisco

Diane Lipscombe, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience, Director of the Carney Institute for Brain Science, Brown University

Frank Porreca, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Anesthesiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona