Behavioral Neuroscience; Electrophysiology; Metabolism; Neurobiology; Neuropharmacology; Pain; Pharmacotherapy
My research lab focuses on the mechanisms of chronic pain and opioid signaling using in vitro and in vivo methods. My previous research training is comprehensive, covering fields of rodent behavior, metabolomics, spinal cord electrophysiology, cation imaging, histology, immunofluorescence, live-cell imaging, rodent and non-human primate nerve fiber recordings, compound action potential electrophysiology, and human psychophysics.
My research program targets several related topics related to changes in cell excitability and intracellular signaling during chronic pain and chronic drug exposure. Several lines of evidence suggest that common changes occur in the peripheral and central nervous system during these events. One key focus of my research program lies in answering questions regarding the development of opioid tolerance and opioid induced hypersensitivity. We are currently investigating how downstream effectors of opioid signaling, namely inwardly-rectifying potassium channels, contribute to analgesia and how loss of expression or function can change the maintenance and progression of enhanced sensitivity in the nervous system. The progression and persistence of chronic pain is a huge social and economic burden within the United States, and better understanding of the pathology of chronic pain, and ways to manage pain are desperately needed.
Alongside my bench work, a major priority of my research program is the development of novel therapeutics to treat pain and opioid induced tolerance and withdrawal.