Chronic (persistent) pain affects approximately 20% of the global population, however, one in three of these patients do not respond to any form of treatments that are currently available. Our failure to offer effective pain relief for a significant proportion of the population not only presents serious welfare problems, but also serves to highlight how little is known about the anatomical, physiological and pharmacological basis of sensory systems in health and disease. Chronic pain can arise from the skin, from joints or from internal organs and in these projects, we will aim to identify circuits in the spinal cord that contribute to the development and maintenance of these conditions. These projects will use a variety of molecular, cellular and systems level techniques to study somatosensory circuits in rodent models and determine how these change in pathological states.
To identify spinal circuits implicated in the development of chronic pain from the skin, from joints and from internal organs.
Techniques to be used:
A variety of molecular, cellular and systems level techniques will be used, including
- recovery surgical techniques
- optogenetics, chemogenetics and targeted silencing
- behavioural testing
- general histological techniques and immunocytochemistry
- confocal microscopy
- transmission electron microscopy
- image analysis using dedicated software (eg Neurolucida for confocal, Neurolucida Explorer, Meta Morph and Image J)