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Benedict Kolber

Assistant Professor
Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

260 Mellon Hall
Phone: 412.396.5615


Postdoc, Pain, Washington University in St. Louis, 2011
Ph.D., Neuroscience, Washington University in St. Louis, 2008
B.S., Biology and Psychology, University of Dayton, 2003


Dr. Kolber serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Research and Education Coordinator for the Chronic Pain Research Consortium.  Dr. Kolber came to Duquesne in 2011 from Washington University in St. Louis.  Dr. Kolber has over 10 years experience doing neuroscience research.  His graduate work with Dr. Louis Muglia, M.D., Ph.D. looked at the role of the endocrine stress response in the modulation of stress adaptation, depression, and anxiety.  His post-doctoral work with Dr. Robert Gereau IV, Ph.D. focused on understanding the role of the amygdala in the modulation of acute and chronic pain.  Dr. Kolber also has extensive experience teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level.  His teaching interests focus on teaching neuroscience, endocrinology, physiology, and in utilizing innovative teaching techniques in the classroom.  



In the U.S., more than 115 million adults suffer from chronic pain.  Often, successful management of chronic pain involves the treatment of other conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders.  In the Kolber lad, we try to understand the common mechanisms of chronic pain and psychiatric illness.  This is done by integrating cutting-edge behavioral, pharmacological, electrophysiological, and molecular techniques to understand the mechanisms of stress and pain.

Most of our work is focused on studying the amygdala, which is a small structure in the brain involved in processing stressful stimuli, modulating reactions to a stressor, and modulating pain responses.  Depending on the emotional state of an organism, activation of the amygdala can either increase or decrease pain.  We are trying to understand the molecular and cellular components of this processing.  The precise types of pain that we are interested in understanding include disorders with a clear connection to stress (e.g. fibromyalgia) as well as those that are less commonly associated with emotional dysregulation (e.g. painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis). 

Approaches used in the lab include behavioral tests (e.g. nociceptive tests, anxiety tests, depression tests, learning and memory tasks), physiology (e.g. in vivo recording from the brain, EMG recording during peripheral stimulation), optogenetics, genetic manipulation (e.g. disrupting or activating genes using viral constructs), and molecular/cellular techniques (e.g. PCR, RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, Western analysis, cell culture, and cloning).

Trainees working in the lab receive a broad-based training in behavior, neuroanatomy, surgical techniques, and molecular biology.  This training regiment provides a strong foundation for future success in research and medicine.


Peer-reviewed Articles

Sadler K, Stratton J, & B Kolber (2014). Urinary bladder distention evoked visceromotor responses as a model for bladder pain in mice. J. Vis. Exp. (86), e51413, doi:10.3791/51413.

Sadler K, Stratton J, DeBerry J, & B Kolber (2013). Optimization of a pain model: Effects of body temperature and anesthesia on bladder nociception in mice. PLoS One Nov 5;8(11):e79617 PMID: 24223980 [PubMed - in process] PMCID: PMC3818235

Kolber B**, Crock L**, Morgan C, Sadler K, Vogt S, Bruchas M & R Gereau IV (2012). Central amygdala mGluR5 in the modulation of visceral pain. J Neuroscience 32(41): 14217-26.
**Co-first authors. Crock listed first on Pubmed.

Dong H, Murphy K, Meng L, Kolber B, Zhang S, Holtzman D, Muglia L & J Csernansky (2012). Corticotrophin releasing factor accelerates neuropathology and cognitive decline in a mouse model of Alzheimer disease. J Alzheimers Dis Jan 1;28(3):579-92. PMID: 22045495 [PMC Journal - in process]

Arnett M, Kolber B, Boyle M & L Muglia (2011). Behavioral insights from mouse models of forebrain- and amygdala-specific glucocorticoid receptor genetic disruption. Mol Cell Endocrinol Apr 10;336(1-2):2-5. Epub 2010 Nov 20. PMID 21094675

Montana M, Conrardy B, Cavallone L, Kolber B, Rao L, Greco S & R Gereau (2011). Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 antagonism with fenobam: Examination of analgesic tolerance and side effect profile in mice. Anesthesiology Epub 2011 Oct 27 2011; Dec;115(6):1239-50. PMID 22037639 / PMCID 3226928

Kolber B (2011). Extended problem-based learning improves scientific communication in senior-biology students. JCST 41(1): 32-39.

Liu Q, Zhang J, Zerbinatti C, Zhan Y, Kolber B, Herz J, Muglia L & G Bu (2011) Lipoprotein receptor LRP1 regulates leptin signaling and energy homeostasis in the adult central nervous system. PLoS Biol. Jan 11; 9(1):e1000575. PMID 21264353 / PMCID 3019112

Kolber B, Montana M, Carrasquillo Y, Xu J, Heinemann S, Muglia L & R Gereau (2010). Activation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 in the amygdala modulates pain-like behavior. J Neurosci 30(24): 8203-8213. PMID 20554871 / PMCID 2898903

Kolber B, Howell M, Wieczorek L, Kelley C, Onwuzurike C, Nettles S, Vogt S & L Muglia (2010). Transient early forebrain CRH elevation causes lasting anxiogenic and despair-like changes in mice. J Neurosci 30(7): 2571-2581. PMID 20164342 / PMCID 2969849

Kolber B & L Muglia (2008). Defining brain region-specific glucocorticoid action during stress by conditional gene disruption in mice. Oct 13; 1293: 85-90. Epub 2009 Apr 8. PMID 19361487 / PMCID 2821940

Kolber B, Wieczorek L & L Muglia (2008). Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation and behavioral analysis of mouse mutants with altered glucocorticoid or mineralocorticoid receptor function. Stress Jun 13: 321-338. PMID 18609295 / PMCID 2744095

Kolber B, Roberts M, Howell M, Wozniak D, Sands M & L Muglia (2008). Central amygdala glucocorticoid receptor action promotes fear conditioning through a CRH-dependent network. PNAS 105(33): 12004-12009. PMID 18695245 / PMCID 2575312

Boyle M, Kolber B, Vogt S, Wozniak D & L Muglia (2006).  Forebrain glucocorticoid receptors modulate anxiety-associated locomotor activation and adrenal responsiveness.  J Neurosci 26(7):  1971-1978. PMID 16481429


Courses Taught at Duquesne

- Endocrinology (Bio 460/560)
- General Biology I (Bio 111)
- Introduction to Graduate Research (Bio 695)
Professional Affiliations