The University of New England announced on Tuesday that it will receive more than $5 million from the federal government to continue research into the study of pain and new pain therapies.
UNE’s Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), based at the university’s Biddeford campus, will use the $5.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support its third and final phase of research. This latest grant means the center has received more than $25 million for pain research over the past 10 years.
UNE said COBRE research contributes to the scientific understanding of the neurobiology of chronic pain and helps facilitate the discovery and development of new therapies. These therapies may include new drugs and non-pharmaceutical treatment options for people with chronic pain.
“It is a major goal of the COBRE program to be part of the workforce training for Maine and also to be a valuable research tool that is not just internal to UNE,” said center director Ian Meng, Ph.D., said in a statement. “We want people outside of UNE to see COBRE as something that can help boost not only research at UNE, but also boost the economy and the biomedical science community in Maine.”
In addition to developing long-term partnerships with organizations such as Corning and the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, the center focuses on supporting young scientists, who often branch out to establish their own independent research programs. Over the past decade, several young professors funded by COBRE have received grants that have deepened their study of pain research.
Benjamin Harrison, assistant professor of biochemistry and nutrition, received $1.8 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to develop nonopioid pain treatments. Harrison said the support he received from the center led to his success.
“COBRE allowed me to come and work at UNE, to set up a laboratory, to hire a team, to obtain all the necessary equipment and instrumentation to carry out my experiments and to apply for independent funding” , did he declare. “If it hadn’t been for COBRE, I just wouldn’t be on ONE, and I never would have had the support that I have.”
Students also benefit from the center’s basic research facilities. Students have the opportunity to be trained and conduct research in the behavioral, histology, and imaging programs that house high-tech microscopes and imaging analysis software.
The center was established in 2012 with funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
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