Integrative Pain Research
Research in our group aims at identifying the mechanisms underlying neuropathic pain and to find treatments for the condition.
Neuropathic pain - a type of chronic pain - as a result of injury or due to diseases of the nervous system is a significant medical and socio-economic problem because it is so complex, long-lasting and difficult to treat.
Our understanding of the mechanisms behind neuropathic pain is still limited. In addition, one must keep in mind that other types of pain, such pain caused by cancer or arthritis, may include components of neuropathic pain during the chronic stage of the diseases. Pain after injury to the central nervous system is a special form of neuropathic pain that is particularly difficult to treat.
We have established new models of neuropathic pain that enable us to study conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and trigeminal neuralgia. The goals of our research are to use these models to explore the mechanisms of neuropathic pain and to seek effective treatments.
Physicians know that patients with identical injuries vary considerably in how much pain they report. One theory is that genetic factors may have an important role in determining an individual's pain sensitivity. We are carrying out studies to identify genes that may underlie susceptibility to pain, particularly neuropathic pain.
It has been known for some time that there are gender differences in the prevalence of many painful conditions among humans. Women tend to be overrepresented in most chronic pain conditions, though not all. In our group we study sex differences in acute pain perception and the development of chronic neuropathic pain. We intend to develop and refine models of chronic pain for clinical conditions that are more prominent among women.