A primary aim of the COBRE is to increase the number of neuroscience investigators at UNE and to build a research community that will sustain a vibrant and competitive research center. As part of this aim, the COBRE funds the research efforts of talented and innovative investigators leading projects related to pain and sensory function.

The goal of this funding is to provide these investigators with the support necessary to develop their novel research projects to the point where each can be independently funded with its own separate federal grant. To date, three investigators have received independent funding.

Current COBRE Project Leaders

Tamara King, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine 

Dr. King’s project will examine neural mechanisms underlying cancer bone pain, focusing on the role of altered signaling by inhibitory interneurons within the spinal cord in mediating cancer bone pain. Understanding the role of disinhibition in cancer-induced bone pain will reveal potential novel targets for the development of alternative non-opioid therapies for breakthrough pain. View bio


The role of spinal disinhibition in cancer-induced bone pain

Michael Burman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Burman project tests the hypothesis that neonatal trauma alters the development of a subset of neurons in the amygdala, which can put an individual at increased risk later in life for a variety of conditions such as anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and chronic pain. View bio


Painful neonatal trauma alters subsequent fear and sensory function via changes in amygdalar CRF function

Benjamin Harrison, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine 

Dr. Harrison studies the mechanisms of neuron growth. His COBRE project is geared to understand how RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) regulate the growth of pain receptors. View bio


Genetic control of nociceptor anatomical plasticity in the adult peripheral nervous system

Prevous Project Leaders

Ling Cao, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dr. Cao studies the interaction between the immune system and the nervous system, exploring the impact of immune cells on pain stemming from nerve injury. View bio


Interaction between calcitonin-gene-related-peptide and CD40 on CNS glial cells in neuropathic pain

*Received R01 Grant July 2016 and Graduated from the COBRE

Geoffrey Ganter, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Ganter uses genome-wide screens in the fruit fly, Drosophila Melanogaster, to identify novel genes involved in perception of noxious stimuli. View bio


Genes involved in antinociception in Drosophila Melanogaster

*Received a R15 Grant September 2015

Lei Lei, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Lei studies the development of nociceptive neurons, with a particular focus on the transcription factors regulating the plasticity of these neurons following peripheral nerve injury. View bio


Function of the transcription factor Sox11 in regulating the plasticity of nociceptive neurons after nerve injury

*Co-collaborator on R01 Grant and Graduated from the COBRE July 2016

COBRE Administration

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