Our research group (2 post-doctoral researchers, 1 technician and 5 post-graduate students) studies the physiology / pathophysiology of nociceptive processing and the identification of novel analgesic targets for the treatment of pain. Current research is investigating the mechanisms contributing to pain associated with osteoarthritis. We have demonstrated the presence of components of the endocannabinoid receptor system in the synovium of OA patients (Richardson et al. , 2008, Arthritis Research Therapy, 10, R43) and that levels of endocannabinoids and related compounds are altered in the synovial fluid of OA and RA patients. We have established collaborations with the Divisions of Orthopaedics and Rheumatology and the Sir Peter Mansfield MRI Centre. VC has experience of managing and delivering on inter-disciplinary research projects, funded by both the Wellcome Trust and the MRC, as evidenced by publications which span studies using integrated in vivo approaches including behavioural measures, electrophysiology, small animal fMRI and analytical studies using mass spectrometry. VC's contribution to translational research in the area of OA pain was recently recognised by the award of funding to establish a Centre of Excellence (focused on pain mechanisms) by Arthritis Research UK. VC is Deputy Director of the Pain Centre and has responsibility for the management of pre-clinical studies.
Impact of research: VC has delivered over 10 invited talks at International meetings, including the World Institute of Pain (2009) and the European Confederation of IASP Chapters Pain in Europe (2007 and 2009) over the last 5 years and has given invited seminars at academic institutions. VC has a strong track record in the training of post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers (11 and 9, respectively over 10 years), which is crucial for the continued expansion of high quality research of the integrated mechanisms underpinning chronic pain. VC was awarded the Novartis Prize in Pharmacology (2008) for a body of published work and has 80 peer-reviewed publications.
Funding: Over the last eleven years VC has been PI on grants funded by the Wellcome Trust £726,000 (4 grants over 10 years), the Medical Research Council (£379,000) and the pharmaceutical sector (£800,000). Current research (2010-2015) is funded by the Arthritis Research UK (Centre of Excellence: Mechanisms of Pain in Arthritis £2,499,891., D Walsh (Director), V Chapman (Deputy Director)).
My PhD investigated the peripheral and spinal mechanisms of inflammatory pain processing, under the supervision of Professor Anthony Dickenson (Dept of Pharmacology, University College London, awarded 1994). Following this, I received a travelling fellowship from the Royal Society to continue my training, and research pain mechanisms, under the supervision of Professor Jean-Maris Besson (INSERM, Paris, 1994-1996). Professor Besson pioneered the study of pain and mechanisms of action of analgesics, exemplified by over 300 publications over a period of forty years, and mentored many scientists, including myself. Following a further post-doctoral period at UCL (1996-1998), I took the post of lecturer in Neuroscience at the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham. I lead a dynamic, and well-funded, pain research group, which has established collaborations with clinical colleagues in the Divisions of Orthopaedics and Rheumatology. Our translational research in the area of osteoarthritic pain was recently recognised by the award of Centre of Excellence status by the Arthritis Research UK. My research goal is to improve the understanding of the mechanisms contributing to chronic pain states and to identify new targets for the development of improved analgesics for chronic pain states. Approaches used by my research group include the use of experimental models of pain, in particular osteoarthritic pain, and molecular and analytical studies of clinical samples from osteoarthritic patients. Collaborative studies (with Professor D Barrett, funded by the MRC and Wellcome Trust) have established novel analytical methods for the measurement of anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory lipid mediators in biological samples (Jen-Gilles et al., 2009), including synovial fluid from patients and healthy volunteers (Richardson et al., 2008). Key Publications 1. Sagar D.R, Staniaszek L.E, Okine B. N., Woodhams S., Norris L. M., Pearson R. G., Garle M. J., Alexander S. P.H., Bennett A. J., Barrett D. A., Kendall D. A., Scammell B. E., Chapman V. Tonic modulation of spinal hyperexcitability by the endocannabinoid receptor system in a model of osteoarthritic pain. Arthritis and Rheumatism (in press). 2. Jen-Gilles L., Feng S., Tench CR., Chapman V., Kendall DA., Barrett DA., Constantinescu C. (2009) Plasma endocannabinoid levels in multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neurological Sciences 287, 212-215. 3. Guasti L., Richardson D., Jhaveri M., Eldeeb K., Barrett D., Elphick MR., Alexander SPH., Kendall D., Michael GJ., Chapman V. (2009) Minocycline treatment inhibits microglial activation and alters spinal levels of endocannabinoids in a rat model of neuropathic pain. Molecular Pain 5:35. 4. Richardson D, Pearson RG, Kurian N, Latif ML, Garle MJ, Barrett DA, Kendall DA, Scammell BE, Reeve AJ, Chapman V. (2008) Characterisation of the cannabinoid receptor system in synovial tissue and fluid in patients with OA and RA. Arthritis Research and Therapy 10, R43. 5. Governo RJM, Morris PG, Prior MJ, Marsden CA, and Chapman V. (2006) Capsaicin-evoked brain activation and central sensitization in anaesthetised rats: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Pain 126, 35-45. 6. Jhaveri MD, Richardson D., Kendall DA., Barrett DA. and Chapman V. (2006) Analgesic effects of fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibition in a rat model of neuropathic pain. Journal of Neuroscience 26, 13318-13327.
We currently have funding from AR UK for a PhD studentship starting 2011 on the following topic
Title: Dissecting the complex roles of peripheral sensory afferent input and supraspinal influences in osteoarthritic pain
Supervisors: Prof Vicky Chapman and Dr Gareth Hathway
Scientific abstract of research including key goals
Pain in osteoarthritis (OA) is severe and debilitating. Structural changes within the joint are poorly correlated to OA pain, sugesting that changes in the central processing of sensory inputs contributes to pain. We hypothesise that early in OA increased pain responses are predominantly mediated by altered sensory afferent activity, however once established, changes in the spinal and supraspinal processing of pain maintain the altered sensory processing and the chronic pain experienced. We aim to investigate the changing contributions of peripheral and supraspinal pain centres in the establishment and maintenance of pain in models of OA. Firstly, we will selectively inactivate joint afferent fibres at selected timepoints in two models of OA and will determine how this impacts upon the establishment of pain behaviours; altered weight bearing and mechanical allodynia. Next we will inactivate a key supraspinal site, which has a well described role in the facilitation of pain, in these models and investigate the impact upon the same behavioural parameters and some key electrophysiological markers of central sensitisation. This study will establish the timecourse, interactions and anatomical site of key neurological components that are essential for establishing and maintaining OA pain.