Derek Molliver received his B.A. from Williams College in 1988 and went on to complete his PhD in Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis in 1997, studying the role of neurotrophic factors in the specification of peripheral sensory neuron identity with Dr. William Snider. He received postdoctoral training with Dr. Ed McCleskey at the Vollum Institute of Oregon Health and Science University, examining the contributions of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling to the sensitization of the peripheral sensory neurons that give rise to the sensation of pain (nociceptors). Dr. Molliver then moved to the University of Pittsburgh, where he was appointed in 2006 to Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology and Neurobiology as a member of the newly created Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research. While at the University of Pittsburgh, he managed an NIH-funded research program studying neurotrophic factor and GPCR signaling mechanisms regulating nociceptor plasticity. Dr. Molliver joined the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in the Department of Biomedical Sciences as an Associate Professor in the spring of 2014, and was promoted to Professor in 2020. Current R01-funded projects focus on GPCR signaling networks that regulate sensory neuron response properties, and how mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial function in response to cell stress alter neuronal response properties and resilience to injury.
Research in the Molliver lab focuses on the molecular machinery that controls signal transduction in pain-sensing neurons and the changes in that machinery that underlie the transition from acute to chronic pain. In pursuit of those themes, research in the lab examines mechanisms that regulate the integration of distinct signal transduction pathways to determine neuronal response properties, with an emphasis on protein-protein interactions and activity-dependent translational regulation. A second project examines communication between peripheral sensory neurons and resident immune cells. From a technical perspective, the lab uses a set of complementary techniques designed to analyze signal transduction mechanisms from individual neurons to the whole animal, including in vitro functional assays (biochemical analyses of cell signaling, ratiometric calcium imaging), protein identification and localization (immunohistochemistry, multiplex Western blotting, 2D DIGE, mass spectrometry), single cell PCR and in vivo behavioral assays.
- Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
- Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University (Portland, Oregon)
- 2019 to 2023 — $463,248.00 — ADENYLYL CYCLASE SIGNALING IN PERSISTENT PAIN: 1R01NS109936-01A1
- 2013 to 2017 — $278,500.00 — Purinergic G protein signal integration in nociceptors from NIGMS