Our work is focused on 1) identifying the neural circuits that mediate persistent forms of pain and 2) plasticity mechanism that give rise to the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. For both neurological problems, we are developing novel therapies.
Chronic pain is a major clinical problem. Over 30% of the population suffers from one or more chronic pain conditions. Effective non-addictive treatments remain inadequate. The over-reliance on opioid-based prescription painkillers has in fact contributed to the current opioid epidemic. Work in our lab is focused on understanding how pain signals are generated within the body and on using this information to identify novel targets and treatments for pain. We use chemogenetic, optogenetic, electrophysiology, single cell sequencing, pharmacology, biochemistry, histology and behavior to elucidate the neural circuits underlying pain. Our work is mainly in rodents but we are also moving the work to more clinically relevant models.
Dorsal horn of the mouse spinal cord showing three excitatory neuron populations important for persistent forms of pain (see Peirs and Seal, Science 2016)