Joshua Havelin


  • B.S. Biochemistry and Medical Biology, UNE, 2007
  • Ph.D., University of Maine, 2019


I attended the University of New England as an undergraduate student and participated in pharmacological research in Dr. Edward Bilsky’s lab where I completed an undergraduate honors thesis focusing on evaluating the effects and mechanism of a mixed mu/delta opioid agonist in a model of overactive bladder.  After graduating I became a technician and lab manager and helped build a lab at the University of New England with the aim to evaluate cellular mechanisms behind CB-2 receptor agonist induced bone pain relief and reduced tumor burden.  In the Fall of 2011 the lab I was working in melded with Dr. Tamara King’s research lab and my duties shifted towards building Dr. King’s lab and establishing working models of NSAID resistant osteoarthritis pain as well as cancer induced ongoing and breakthrough pain. After joining the GSBSE program in 2014 I rejoined Dr. King’s lab as a graduate student, and assembled my committee with a group of pain researchers and synaptic transmission specialists that would help guide and shape my growth as a scientist as I worked my way through my dissertation project.   We are currently using novel behavioral and optogenetic approaches to investigate mechanisms driving ongoing and movement evoked cancer-induced bone pain, with the goal to discover new targets for pharmaceutical intervention.

Research Interests

Dissertation Projects. Currently I am investigating the role of subpopulations of sensory neurons and their potential role in mediating cancer-induced bone pain. We are approaching these questions by using the recent advent of light-sensitive ion channels that can both inhibit and activate neurons.  Using transgenic mouse tools we can specifically target these special proteins to specific neurons in the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system and through various surgical approaches we can specifically deliver light to the spinal cord to hone in on the role of anatomically distinct locations as well.

Selected Services

  • On behalf of the GSBSE, University of New England Site Coordinator, 2017-2019
  • University of New England Brain Fair Sheep Brain Dissection Lead, 2017, 2018
  • Maine State Science Fair Judge, 2015, 2016, Group Lead  Judge 2018
  • Adjunct Assistant Lecturer at the University of New England for various courses Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Summer 2018
  • Society for Neuroscience, Travel Award Recipient for 2017 Meeting

Selected Publications

  • Havelin, J. & King, T. Mechanisms Underlying Bone and Joint Pain. Curr Osteoporos Rep (2018) 16: 763. Read Abstract
  • Edwards K, Havelin J, Mcintosh M, Ciccone H, Pangilinan K, et al. (2018) A Kappa Opioid Receptor Agonist Blocks Bone Cancer Pain Without Altering Bone Loss, Tumor Size, or Cancer Cell Proliferation in a Mouse Model of Cancer-Induced Bone Pain. J Pain 19: 612–625. Read Abstract
  • Allen, J., Imbert, I., Havelin, J., Henderson, T., Stevenson, G., Liaw, L. and King, T. (2017), Effects of treadmill exercise on advanced osteoarthritis pain in rats. Arthritis & Rheumatology. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1002/art.40101 Read Abstract
  • Mediation of movement-induced breakthrough cancer pain by IB4 binding nociceptors in rats
    Joshua Havelin, Ian Imbert, Devki Sukhtankar, Bethany Remeniuk, Ian Pelletier, Jonathan Gentry, Alec Okun, Timothy Tiutan, Frank Porreca, Tamara King
    Journal of Neuroscience 24 April 2017, 1212-16; DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1212-16.2017 Read Abstract
  • Central Sensitization and Neuropathic Features of Ongoing Pain in a Rat Model of Advanced Osteoarthritis. Havelin, Joshua et al.
    The Journal of Pain , Volume 17 , Issue 3 , 374 – 382 Read Abstract
  • Disease Modification of Breast Cancer–Induced Bone Remodeling by Cannabinoid 2 Receptor Agonists Read Abstract

Dissertation Mentor

Joshua Havelin