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Benedict Kolber

Associate Professor
Program Head, Systems and Cellular Neuroscience Track, Cognition and Neuroscience PhD

Research Interests: Pain with an emphasis on stress adaptation, depression, visceral organs, and drug discovery (analgesics, overdose antidotes, assay development)

BSB 10.566
Pain Stress Lab
Curriculum Vitae

Currently accepting graduate students

Not currently accepting undergraduate students


Professional Preparation

Post-Doc - Pain
Washington University in St. Louis - Anesthesiology - 2011
PhD - Neuroscience
Washington University in St. Louis - Neuroscience Program - 2008
BS - Biology and Psychology
University of Dayton - 2003

Research Areas

Pain Basic Science
We are interested in understanding the impact of stress adaptation on the pain experience.  We are doing basic science research looking at the role of the amygdala and other emotional processing brain areas in acute and chronic pain with a focus on visceral and neuropathic pain. We utilize molecular and systems-level approaches including physiological techniques, pharmacology, optogenetics, and in vivo imaging. 
Pain and Depression Drug Discovery
We utilize natural products to identify and test novel analgesic and anti-depressant molecules. This includes work with marine cyanobacteria (Caribbean Sea) and terrestrial plants from Central Africa (Cameroon). We also seek novel approaches to fight the opioid epidemic including working with chemists to modify existing opioid overdose antidotes to minimize opioid withdrawal after antidote delivery. 
Non-Pharmacological Research in Chronic Pain Patients
Working with clinicians, we are interested in developing and testing integrative non-pharmacological approaches to treat chronic pain. This work has involved testing the impact of combined meditation and exercise to treat chronic low back pain in adult patients.


Behavioral insights from mouse models of forebrain- and amygdala-specific glucocorticoid receptor genetic disruption - Journal Article
Lipoprotein Receptor LRP1 Regulates Leptin Signaling and Energy Homeostasis in the Adult Central Nervous System - Journal Article
Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation and behavioral analysis of mouse mutants with altered glucocorticoid or mineralocorticoid receptor function. - Journal Article
Examination of Analgesic Tolerance and Side Effect Profile in Mice - Journal Article
Defining brain region-specific glucocorticoid action during stress by conditional gene disruption in mice - Journal Article
Challenges and opportunities for growing and retaining a pain research workforce 2024 - Other
Barbamide Displays Affinity for Membrane-Bound Receptors and Impacts Store-Operated Calcium Entry in Mouse Sensory Neurons 2023 - Journal Article
Slow‐sustained delivery of naloxone reduces typical naloxone‐induced precipitated opioid withdrawal effects in male morphine‐dependent mice 2022 - Journal Article


President’s Award for Scholarship Excellence - Duquesne University [2019]
Research Hall of Fame - Duquesne University [2019]
Mentoring Active Learning and Teaching (MALT) Fellowship - American Society for Cell Biology [2015]
Early Career Mentoring Award – Honorable Mention - Council for Undergraduate Research [2015]
Mentor Award for Excellence in Advising Graduate Students from the Department of Biological Sciences, Duquesne University 2014 Mentor Award for Excellence in Advising Graduate Students from the Department of Biological Sciences - Duquesne University [2014]
Early Career Research Award - International Association for the Study of Pain and Scan|Design Foundation [2013]
National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences - National Academies [2012]
NRSA F32 Postdoctoral Award - NIH NIDDS [2010]
Society for Neuroscience Graduate Student Travel Award - SFN [2007]
NRSA F31 Predoctoral Award - NIH NIMH [2006]


Program Director
BBS - Systems Neuroscience PhD Program [2021–Present]
Center for Advanced Pain Studies [2020–Present]

News Articles

Exercise Can Help Reduce Chronic Pain
Exercise Can Help Reduce Chronic Pain National Public Radio Morning Edition 9/9/2019 
Next-generation single-dose antidotes for opioid overdoses
Next-generation single-dose antidotes for opioid overdoses ACS News Release as part of the 2019 ACS meeting 4/1/19 
Pharmacognosy Field Notes: Random Encounter Leads to Cameroon Adventure
Pharmacognosy Field Notes: Random Encounter Leads to Cameroon Adventure American Society of Pharmacognosy Fall 2017 Newsletter Vol 53 Issue 3