One in five people worldwide suffer from some form of chronic pain, and only a minority of patients gain adequate pain control from existing drugs. Untreated pain has major social and economic impact in terms of lost employment, inflated medical costs and a substantial influence on quality of life, including the development of anxiety, depression and sleep impairment. Untreated pain also remains a significant concern and interest of major pharmaceutical companies. This PhD project in the newly established research group of Dr Ilona Obara will focus on a discovery of novel targets for the treatment of chronic pain. The overall aim of this research project will be the identification, characterisation and validation of novel drug targets through understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of chronic pain. This study will employ a combination of state-of-the art pharmacological, genetic, imaging and behavioural approaches, which will lead to characterization of a completely novel signalling route involved in chronic pain pathology, with high impact potential as a novel therapeutic strategy. Successful candidates will benefit from full technological and academic support from the research group of Dr Obara, as well as access to the vast array of expertise and tools provided by close collaborators across the globe. Successful candidates will be encouraged to actively participate in the national and international conferences on pain and neuroscience, and also gain training and support by being an active member of the Wolfson Special Interest Group “It’s a Pain” (https://www.dur.ac.uk/wolfson.institute/sig/pain/). Moreover, during the course of this training, with a support from the University, candidates will develop professional skills (leadership, time management etc.) that will strengthen their future career progression both within and outside the academia. More details of scientific interest and publications from Dr Obara can be found at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/school.health/staff/?username=mgsn6
This is a self-funded studentship
Applicants with a background in pharmacology, cellular and molecular biology, or a related discipline would be best suited to this project.