The Behavioral Core will provide COBRE investigators and the broader UNE research community with the highest level of technical expertise, training, and instrumentation for conducting behavioral studies to provide insight into the function of the nervous system. The development of a Behavioral Core with COBRE support is especially crucial given our expertise in behavioral testing and our focus on pain. Led by Drs. Bilsky (Director) and Cao (co-Director), this core will offer training in small animal surgery techniques and in an array of assessments related to behavioral neuroscience, pain and other sensory testing, and wholesystem physiology. The group has expertise in many of the standard models of inflammatory, visceral and neuropathic pain. Assessment of abnormal pain states includes extensive facilities for testing sensory thresholds and latencies (tactile, thermal and chemical modalities). The core staff and collaborators will also lead efforts to advance the pain field by developing alternative measures for assessing pain and antinociception in rodents (e.g., headache-related behaviors, or affective and pain suppressed behaviors that may be more relevant to clinical pain states than reflex-type responses). Standardizing the methodology and protocols in these tests has been crucial in minimizing inter-lab variability and maximizing the reproducibility of results. One metric of the quality of the services provided has been the close connections we have had with industry partners. In the past 5 years, we have conducted over $600,000 of research contracts with small to mid-size biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies including Biogen-ldec, Alkermes, RepliGen, and Colucid. We are also working with several smaller Maine affiliated companies that have potential projects in the pain field (e.g.. Sea Run Holdings, Clear H20 and Exodos Life Sciences). Many of these partners have conducted site visits and have commented on the quality of services and expertise we provide. Reinvestment from these contracts has allowed us to build our capabilities in the pain and pharmacology fields.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1)
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University of New England
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