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Nathan P. Cramer, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:


Additional Title:

Assistant Professor

Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

University of Maryland College Park, BS, Physics, 2001

University of Maryland School of Medicine, Neuoscience, 2007

Cornell University, Postdoctoral Study, 2009

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Postdoctoral Study, 2013


am UMB alumnus who joined the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology as an Assistant Professor in February 2019. My research focuses on maladaptive responses of the central nervous system to injury and environmental/psychological stressors. I am particularly interested in factors that contribute to chronic pain and how stress influences its perceived severity. I use a variety of behavioral, imaging, and electrophysiological techniques to study the relationship between stress and pain in rodent models. 

Research/Clinical Keywords

nociception, pain perception, stress

Highlighted Publications

Morais-Silva, G., Campbell C., Nam H., Basu M., Pagliusi Jr, M.O., Fox M., Chan, S., Iñiguez, S., Ament S., Cramer N.P., Marin M., and Lobo MK (2022) Molecular, circuit, and stress response characterization of Ventral Pallidum Npas1-neurons J. Neurosci; 2022 Nov 28   

Nguyen, E., Smith, K. M., Cramer, N. P., Holland, R. A., Bleimeister, I. H., Flores-Felix, K., Silberberg, H., Keller, A., Le Pichon, C. E., & Ross, S. E. (2022). Medullary kappa-opioid receptor neurons inhibit pain and itch through a descending circuit. Brain, 145(7), 2586-2601.

Alipio, J. B., Haga, C., Fox, M. E., Arakawa, K., Balaji, R., Cramer, N. P., Lobo, M. K., & Keller, A. (2021). Perinatal fentanyl exposure leads to long-lasting impairments in somatosensory circuit function and behavior. J Neurosci, JN-RM.

Cramer, N. P., Silva-Cardoso, G., Masri, R., & Keller, A. (2021). Control of synaptic transmission and neuronal excitability in the parabrachial nucleus. Neurobiol Pain, 9, 100057.

Uddin, O., Jenne, C., Fox, M. E., Arakawa, K., Keller, A., & Cramer, N. P. (2020). Divergent profiles of fentanyl withdrawal and associated pain in mice and rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 200, 173077.

Raver, C., Uddin, O., Ji, Y., Li, Y., Cramer, N. P., Jenne, C., Morales, M., Masri, R., & Keller, A. (2020). An Amygdalo-Parabrachial Pathway Regulates Pain Perception and Chronic Pain. J Neurosci, 40(17), 3424-3442.


Research Interests

My research focuses on how the responsiveness of the parabrachial nucleus (PB) is controlled by neuromodulators. This brain region plays a key role in encoding the affective aspect of pain by integrating and processing aversive signals from multiple modalities, and hyperexcitability of PB neurons is closely linked to chronic pain behaviors in rodent models. I use a combination of behavior optogenetics, fiber photometry, and electrophysiology in vivo and in vitro to understand the mechanisms that contribute to this hyperexcitability. Of particular interest is how noradrenaline alters nociceptive processing in PB and how stress-induced in these interactions contribute to chronic pain.

Grants and Contracts

University of Maryland, Baltimore; Center to Advance Chronic Pain Research Seed Grant (2022)

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS AND STROKE (R01NS127827): Interoception and Pain: Noradrenergic Modulation of Nociceptive Transmission in the Parabrachial Nucleus (mPI with Dr. Radi Masri, 2023)

Lab Techniques and Equipment

Slice patch clamp electrophysiology and fiber photometry, rodent in vivo calcium imaging, fiber photometry and electrophysiology, rodent behavior, RNAscope