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Professor of AnesthesiaProfessor of
Primary Office: 218 CMABIowa City, IA 52242
Primary Office Phone: 319-353-3646
Lab: 3000 MLIowa City, IA 52242
BS, Biochemical Pharmacology, State University of New York at BuffaloPhD, Pharmacology, University of Illinois at Chicago
Post Doctoral, Mayo ClinicPost Doctoral, Mayo Clinic
Biosciences Graduate ProgramInterdisciplinary Graduate Program in NeuroscienceInterdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational BiomedicineMedical Scientist Training Program
The overall goal of our research is to gain a better understanding of the neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neuropharmacology of the central nervous system pathways that convey pain, as well as the bulbospinal pathways that modulate the transmission of nociceptive information. Our studies emphasize a systems-level approach that uses many different methodologies in concert, including behavioral pharmacology in normal, transgenic or knockout animals, neuroanatomical tract tracing, immunocytochemical labeling of neurons, measurement of neurotransmitter release by push-pull perfusion or microdialysis, and electrophysiological recordings from neurons in slices of the spinal cord or brainstem. We are particularly interested in the role that inhibitory neurotransmitters, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or the endogenous opioid peptides, play in the modulation of nociceptive sensitivity at the level of the spinal cord and brainstem. Our early studies focused on how these neurotransmitter systems dictate responses to acute or transient nociception. More recent investigations have focused on the role of these neurotransmitters in the response of the central nervous system to peripheral injury and the occurrence of persistent pain in either the neonate or the adult. Our results indicate that persistent pain can lead to long-term changes in the pharmacology and physiology of both the afferent pathways that convey pain, as well as the efferent pathways that suppress pain. These changes have significant consequences for the ability of drugs to produce analgesia and for the body to invoke its own homeostatic mechanisms for the control of pain. The plasticity of central nervous system pathways in response to persistent neuropathic and inflammatory pain will continue to be a focus of our work in the future.
Pain Research Program
Date Last Modified: 06/07/2014 -
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