Postdoctoral Fellow
McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, Houston, 2020
Postdoctoral Fellow
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics and University of Cologne, Germany, 2016
Duisburg-Essen University, Germany, 2012

Areas of Interest

Research Interests

Chronic pain; Neuronal signaling; Opioid signaling

Study of neuronal and glial signaling cascades using high content microscopy

Our research focus is in signaling networks mediating neuronal plasticity in sensory neurons, specifically those related to chronic pain. For this purpose, I have specialized in the use of high content microscopy to study the different signaling events occurring in the different neuronal and non-neuronal cellular subpopulations in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG), developing new methods to obtain and analyze the resulting data.

Of particular interest to us is the interaction of different signaling networks to provide context-specific responses to pain related stimuli. This approach has lead us to recently discover how the increased electrical activity observed in nociceptive sensory neurons after spinal cord injury modulate opioid effects at multiple levels, potentially contributing to pain chronicity.


  • Garza Carbajal A, Bavencoffe A, Walters ET, Dessauer CW. (2020). “Depolarization-dependent C-Raf signaling promotes hyper-excitability and reduces opioid sensitivity of isolated nociceptors after spinal cord injury”. J Neurosci, 40 (34):6522.
  • Garza Carbajal A, Ebersberger A, Thiel A, Ferrari L, Acuna J, Brosig S, Isensee J, Moeller K, Siobal M, Rose-John S, Levine J, Schaible H, Hucho T. (2020). “Oncostatin M induces hyperalgesic priming and amplifies signaling of cAMP to ERK by RapGEF2 and PKA”. J Neurochem, 00:1 (Early publication).
  • Li Y, Baldwin TA, Wang Y, Subramaniam J, Carbajal AG, Brand CS, Cunha SR, Dessauer CW. (2017). “Loss of type 9 adenylyl cyclase triggers reduced phosphorylation of Hsp20 and diastolic dysfunction”. Sci Rep 7(1): 5522.
  • Willemen HL, N Eijkelkamp, A Garza Carbajal, H Wang, M Mack, J Zijlstra, CJ Heijnen and A Kavelaars. (2014). “Monocytes/Macrophages control resolution of transient inflammatory pain.” J Pain, 15(5): 496.
  • Kavelaars A, Heijnen C, Garza CA. (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Psychoneuroimmunology. (Book chapter) Regulation of Target System Sensitivity in Neuroinflammation: Role of GRK2 in chronic Pain. ISBN: 9780195394399.
  • Wang H, C J Heijnen, N Eijkelkamp, A Garza Carbajal, M Schedlowski, K W Kelley, R Dantzer and A Kavelaars. (2011). “GRK2 in sensory neurons regulates epinephrine-induced signaling and duration of mechanical hyperalgesia.” Pain, 152(7): 1649.
  • Kavelaars A, N Eijkelkamp, H L Willemen, H Wang, A G Carbajal and C J Heijnen. (2011). “Microglial GRK2: a novel regulator of transition from acute to chronic pain.” Brain Behav Immun, 25(6): 1055.
  • Eijkelkamp N, H Wang, A Garza-Carbajal, H L Willemen, F J Zwartkruis, J N Wood, R Dantzer, K W Kelley, C J Heijnen and A Kavelaars. (2010). “Low nociceptor GRK2 prolongs prostaglandin E2 hyperalgesia via biased cAMP signaling to Epac/Rap1, protein kinase Cepsilon, and MEK/ERK.” J Neurosci, 30(38): 12806.
  • Garza A, O Lopez-Ramirez, R Vega and E Soto. (2010). “The aminoglycosides modulate the acid-sensing ionic channel currents in dorsal root ganglion neurons from the rat.” J Pharmacol Exp Ther, 332(2): 489.
  • Garza A, R Vega and E Soto. (2006). “Cellular mechanisms of lead neurotoxicity.” Med Sci Monit, 12(3): Ra57.