The international association of pain defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that is associated with actual or potential tissue damage”. Although the sensory component of pain (sensory discrimination and neuronal encoding) is well documented, the neural circuitry involved the negative affective-motivational aspect of pain is still unclear. The negative emotional components of pain (including anxiety, depression and aversive behaviours) are a key component of the pain experience, particularly for patients with long-term (chronic) pain. Chronic pain is prevalent in patients suffering from disease (e.g. diabetes, cancer) or undergoing treatment (chemotherapy, immunotherapy), which can lead to patient withdrawal from their societal environment. This PhD will use chemogenetic and optogenetic approaches in combination with electrophysiology, neuronal tracing and rodent behavioural paradigms (e.g. conditioned place preference) to examine the neural circuitry involved in the negative emotional aspect of chronic pain. This project is a collaboration between Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham.
Applicants should have a 2:1 or 1st class honours degree in a subject relevant to the proposed project. A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters degree with Merit.