Dr. Volker Neugebauer - Faculty Page | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center


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Brain research – Neuroplasticity in health and disease

The focus of my research has been on mechanisms of neuroplasticity and brain functions related to clinically relevant disorders such as chronic pain, neurodegenerative diseases, epileptogenesis, and other neurological and psychiatric disorders for more than 30 years. A clinically trained neuroscientist I am particularly interested in the neurobiological mechanisms of emotional-affective and cognitive aspects of behavior and brain functions. The analysis of emotional-affective and cognitive brain mechanisms of pain centered on the amygdala and cortico-limbic interactions is a key contribution of our work to the field of pain research and neuroscience. Ongoing projects are focused on neuroimmune signaling and neuropeptides such as opioids and CRF. 

I have been able to initiate and facilitate collaborative basic science projects and studies in humans on mechanisms, biomarkers and interventions for pain, aging-related health issues, including mental health and dementias and Alzheimer's disease in particular, and other disorders in my roles as Department Chair, Founding Director of the Center of Excellence for Translational Neuroscience and Therapeutics (CTNT), and Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Garrison Institute on Aging (GIA). As the GIA Director I also oversee Project FRONTIER, a longitudinal epidemiological study on aging and cognitive decline in a multi-ethnic sample of adults in rural communities. The GIA houses a brain bank with more than 200 frozen and fixated brains from patients with various forms of dementia and controls. Our basic research program uses a multidisciplinary approach to integrate state-of-the-art in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, multi-photon imaging in vivo and ex vivo, microendoscopy for in vivo calcium imaging, optogenetics, chemogenetics, viral vector strategies, transgenics, molecular biology, immunohistochemistry, (opto-)pharmacology, and innovative behavioral assays. 

My work has been published in more than 160 research articles and presented in nearly 160 invited lectures and workshops. My nationally and internationally recognized (h-index 57, Web of Science, 10-08-23) research program has been continuously funded by NIH since 1999. Currently, I serve as PI/MPI on 5 NIH R01 grants and a USDA grant and as Co-I on 2 NIH R01 grants. The overall goal of our translational research is the better understanding of mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric disorders to identify novel targets for new and improved diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. Another important goal is the education and training of biomedical researchers and health care professionals. I have a track record of successfully mentoring junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, clinical residents, MD/PhD students, PhD students, MD/MS students, medical students, and undergraduate students.

  • Garrison Family Foundation- “Innovative mental health services, recreational intervention, and imaging-based biomarker screening for AD/ADRD patients and caregivers”, PI, Volker Neugebauer
  • Sabinsa Corporation, NJ -Curcumin and Retinal Amyloid-beta Pilot Study”, PI, Leslie Shen
  • NIH/NINDS, R01 NS129552 - “Brain Circuits of Migraine Pain”
    MPI, Volker Neugebauer
  • TTUHSC SOM, CTNT, GIA Seed Fund Program- “Mental Health Telemedicine for Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s’ Disease and Related Dementias in Rural West Texas”, PI, Volker Neugebauer
  • SOM Davis Foundation- “Ginger extract in anxio-depressive disorders: gut-brain-axis”, MPI, Volker Neugebauer
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) research grant- “Implementing Individual Mental Health Treatment and Respite for Hispanic Informal Caregivers of Individuals with Dementia”, MPI, Volker Neugebauer 
  • Garrison Family Foundation- “Increasing Mental Health Services for Low Income and Minority Informal Caregivers of Dementia Patients: A GIA and TTU Collaboration”, PI, Volker Neugebauer
  • NIH/NINDS, R01 NS120395 - " A prolactin-mediated neuroendocrine link between stress-induced latent sensitization and female-selective pain", MPI, Volker Neugebauer
  • USDA/NIFA, 2021-67017-34026 - "Ginger root extract for neuropathic pain" 
    MPI, Volker Neugebauer
  • NIH/NINDS, R01 NS118731 - "Trans-Synaptic Signaling Complex in Amygdala Pain Mechanisms" 
    MPI, Volker Neugebauer
  • NIH/NINDS, R01 NS109255 - "Pronociceptive and antinociceptive opioid mechanisms in the central nucleus of the Amygdala",
    Co-I, Volker Neugebauer
  • NIH/NINDS, R01 NS106902 - “Stress-induced descending facilitation from amygdala kappa opioid receptors in functional pain”
    MPI, Volker Neugebauer 
  • NIH/NINDS, R01 NS038261 - “Amygdala Pain Mechanisms”
    PI, Volker Neugebauer 
  • NIH/NIAAA, R01 AA027096 - “The neuroimmune model of excessive alcohol consumption: Transition to Alcohol Use Disorder”
    Co-I, Volker Neugebauer


Photo of Dr. Neugebauer's lab group

Dr. Volker Neugebauer's Lab

To view information regarding Dr. Neugebauer's lab click here.


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Dr. Volker Neugebauer

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