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Division of Cancer and Stem Cells

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During my PhD in the Pain Research Group at the University of Bristol, I developed an interest in sensory neurophysiology. I investigated the role that sensory primary afferents have in neuropathic pain. I acquired skills in electrophysiological and behavioural assays to understand how the neuropeptide galanin modulates this system. In a subsequent postdoctoral position at the University of Bristol I extended my pain research portfolio and skillset by investigating the role of the vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF) family in nociception. This encompassed research into peripheral and central neuronal sensory processing of pain signals as well as vascular biology to examine how VEGF and alternative splicing can alter pain processing; primarily using pharmacological intervention; current and novel agents. In 2013 I was appointed as Senior Research Fellow at Nottingham University to focus on cancer related pain in the Division of Cancer and Stem Cell Sciences. Having spoken directly to diabetic and cancer patients who suffer from pain, I am directly aware of how this can impact upon quality of life and forms the basis for many of the research questions I wish to answer. Understanding the neurophysiology responsible for controlling pain is crucial if we are to understand what goes wrong in chronic pain sufferers. I'm targeting clinical problems currently underrepresented by basic research in the hope that we may develop new analgesics for chronic pain sufferers.

Expertise Summary

The research questions I wish to answer are those based upon understanding the neurophysiology responsible for controlling pain and in particular highlighting those instances where these neuronal systems are altered leading to chronic pain. Chronic pain is highly debilitating due to elevated levels of pain and persistent pain, which arise through a number of varying causes with those areas investigated including diabetes, chemotherapy, tumour induced, arthritis and physical trauma. Current work is targeting how peripheral, as well as central, sensory neurons become sensitised in disease states leading to chronic pain, with one target of interest being vascular endothelial growth factor. Further work is being undertaken to understand how persistent pain arises in cancer patients and how cancer therapies (adult and children) impact upon the nervous system leading to long lasting aberrant sensations.

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School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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