Benedict Kolber

Associate Professor - Behavioral and Brain Sciences
BSB 10.545
Tags: Chronic Pain Bladder Pain Integrative Therapy Amygdala Depression Stress

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 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.


Hormonal and molecular effects of restraint stress on formalin-induced pain-like behavior in male and female mice 2016 - Journal Article
Marine cyanobacteria-derived serotonin receptor 2C active fraction induces psychoactive behavioral effects in mice 2016 - Journal Article
Urine Trouble: Alterations in Brain Function Associated with Bladder Pain 2016 - Journal Article
MGluRs head to toe in pain 2015 - Book
Discovery of Novel-scaffold monoamine transporter ligands via in silico screening with the S1 pocket of the serotonin transporter 2014 - Journal Article
The mGluR5 antagonist fenobam induces analgesic conditioned place preference in mice with spared nerve injury 2014 - Journal Article
Urinary bladder distention evoked visceromotor responses as a model for bladder pain in mice 2014 - Journal Article
Optimization of a pain model: Effects of body temperature and anesthesia on bladder nociception in mice 2013 - Journal Article
Central Amygdala Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 5 in the Modulation of Visceral Pain 2012 - Journal Article
Central amygdala metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 in the modulation of visceral pain 2012 - 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]

News Articles

Exercise Can Help Reduce Chronic Pain
National Public Radio Morning Edition 9/9/2019 
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
American Society of Pharmacognosy Fall 2017 Newsletter Vol 53 Issue 3