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 aid 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.

2022 Pilot Projects

Application Deadlines and Information

The Center will soon be accepting proposals for 2022 Pilot Projects. Proposals should be aimed at acquiring preliminary data for NIH R01/R15/R21/SBIR/STTR or comparable grant applications and for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Studies should utilize the COBRE Histology and Imaging Core and/or Behavior Core facilities.

Projects may request up to $25,000 per year for a maximum of two years with the earliest start date of June 1, 2022. Continuation of funding after the first year is contingent upon success in meeting project goals and approval of COBRE External Advisory Board. Proposals will be reviewed by a study section which will make funding recommendations to the External Advisory Board. All applications will require approval by NIH prior to funding. Investigators who receive support are expected to submit a progress report prior to the end of the first year outlining progress made to date. Faculty at the University of New England, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, and the University of New Hampshire are eligible to apply.

Letters of Intent

Letters of intent are due December 10, 2021. Letters should include the project title, a list of key personnel, and a brief description of the project (this information will be used to find qualified reviewers).

Applications

Applications are due January 14, 2022. Applications must include (links below provide downloadable templates):

  • Project Title and Summary (PDF)
  • Research Strategy Section
    • 3-page limit (not including works cited)
      • Includes
        • Specific Aims
        • Background/Significance
        • Experimental Design/Approach
        • Expected Outcomes
        • Timeline for Completion
  • NIH Biosketches for all major personnel and collaborators
  • Budget page: please provide a detailed justification for all supplies and personnel
  • IACUC/IRB approval is not required for grant submission but will be required if the proposal is selected for funding

Contact

Letters of intent, applications, and questions around this application can be directed to Jennifer Malon, (207) 602-2517.

Pilot project awards are contingent on successful funding of the Phase 3 COBRE

2020 Pilot Projects

Novel expression of MHC class II on DRG neurons can directly activate CD4+ T cells contributing to the resolution of neuropathic pain

Diana Goode, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Project Summary

Determine if inhibiting CD4+ T cell activation will decrease the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines in DRG and prolong mechanical hypersensitivity. These results will provide compelling evidence that DRG neurons have the capacity to directly activate CD4+ T cells to trigger the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines in models of neuropathic and inflammatory.

Oxytocin signaling in nucleus accumbens GABAergic interneurons in chronic pain

Christoph Straub, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

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.

2019 Pilot Projects

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

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

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

Oxytocin signaling in nucleus accumbens GABAergic interneurons in chronic pain

Christoph Straub, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

 

Mitochondrial contributions to the development of persistent hyperalgesia

Derek Molliver, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

 

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

Geoffrey Ganter, Ph.D.

Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences

*R15 Grant Awarded July 2020

2018 Pilot Projects

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

Effects of gut microbiome modulation on inflammatory pain-related behaviors

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

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

Kerry Tucker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

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

Derek Molliver, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Co-Investigators

Tamara King, Ph.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine

Ben Harrison, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine

2017 Pilot Project Recipients

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

Effects of gut microbiome modulation on inflammatory pain-related behaviors

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

 

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

Kerry Tucker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

 

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

Derek Molliver, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

 

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

Geoffrey Ganter, Ph.D.

Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences

 

2016 Pilot Grant Recipients

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

Mechanisms of Infection-Mediated Pain

Meghan May, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Primary Cilia in Nociceptive DRG Neurons: Potential Links to Acute and Chronic Pain

Kerry Tucker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

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.

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

Michael Burman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences

Mechanisms of Infection-Mediated Pain

Meghan May, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Primary Cilia in Nociceptive DRG Neurons: Potential Links to Acute and Chronic Pain

Kerry Tucker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Resident DRG Macrophages: Impact on Nociceptor Responses**

Katherine Hanlon, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine

Chronic Pain, Motor Output and Motor Learning in Knee Osteoarthritis***

Katherine Rudolph, PT, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the Westbrook College of Health Professions

*Transitioned to COBRE Project September 2016

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

***R15 Grant Awarded April 2016

2014 Pilot Grant Recipients

Glenn Stevenson, Ph.D.*

Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences.
View Glenn Stevenson's bio

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

Tamara King, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Identification of the Activated Signaling Complex of the Mu Opioid Receptor

John Streicher, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine.

*R15 Grant Awarded September 2014

**Transitioned to COBRE Project October 2014

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