Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre
   
   
     
  

PhD Studentships in Arthritis Pain Research

Current Studentships

    • Investigation postnatal changes in the connectivity and physiological role of the periaqueductal grey and how this affects descending pain pathways - Emma Battell

    • Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis and it’s comorbidities - Subhashisa Swain
    • Gene expression analysis and Risk of gout: a case-control study - Gabriela Sandoval-Plata

    • Developing and evaluating the feasibility of a nurse-led complex package of care for knee pain - Polykarpos Nomikos
    • Individualised exercise intervention for hip and knee osteoarthritis - Khalid Yaseen
    • Development of an optimal non-pharmacological treatment package for fibromyalgia - Burak Kundakci

    • Digital Exercise Intervention for Knee OA – Link between sleep and pain relief - Sameer Gohir
    • Understanding the role of messenger RNA regulation in pain nerves during osteoathritis - Asta Tranholm
    • The Differential Roles of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Isoforms in the Context of Chronic Pain and Peripheral Neuropathy - Matthew Swift
    • Developmental changes in neural stem cell responses in the spinal cord and the influence of painful stimulation - Adele Edwards
    • Peripheral contributions to the developing and maintenance of chronic pain in osteoarthritis in the knee joints - Dimitrios Amantis
    • A link between chronic pain and anxiety - Arman Tadjibaev
    • Mechanistic studies of the impact of chronic pain on brain, behaviour and cognition in rat models of osteoarthritis - Sara Gonçalves
    • A clinical assessment tool to improve the use of pain relieving treatments in knee osteoarthritis - Kehinde Akin-Akinyosoye
  • Relative efficacy of different types of exercises in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis - a network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials - Siew Li
  • Investigation of  the influence of innate anxiety on functional connectivity in animal models of osteoarthritis pain - Amanda Lillywhite
  • Investigations of the origins of altered pain perception in a commercial pig straing - Catherine Owles
  • Relative efficacy of topical NSAIDs and topical capsaicin in osteoarthritis and neuropathic pain - Monica Persson
  • Translational studies of central sensitisation in the rat monosodium iodoacetate model of osteoarthritis pain - Victoria Simmonds

Previous studentships:

  • Postnatal neurophysiological development of nociception: integration and representation into supraspinal networks - Charles Greenspon
  • Role of prostaglandins in the periaqueductal gray in the central modulation of osteoarthritis pain - Fatimah Almahasneh
  • Targeting the resolution of inflammation to reduce spinal excitability and pain - Meesawatsom Pongsatorn (Den)
  • Structural brain changes in chronic pain of knee osteoarthritis - Hamza Alshuft
  • The role of lipid signalling in osteoclasts: contributions to osteoarthritic pain - Louis Brailsford
  • The placebo effect and its determinants in fibromyalgia - Xi Chen
  • Investigation of inflammatory mechanisms in models of osteoarthritic pain  - Junting Huang
  • The role of TRPV1 signalling in osteoclastogenesis and pain in osteoarthritis - Luting Xu (Tracey)
  • The contextual effect of treatment in osteoarthritis - Kun Zuo
  • Contributions of spinal and supraspinal sites to the pain assocated with osteoarthritis - Adrian Haywood
  • Structural pain modification in models of osteoarthritis- Lilian Nwosu
  • Structural associations of pain in human knee osteoarthritis - Laura Stoppiello

Current studentships

 

 

Emma Battell_IMG_2971
Emma Battell
Commenced: 1/10/2017  Supervisor: Dr Gareth Hathway

Investigation postnatal changes in the connectivity and physiological role of the periaqueductal grey and how this affects descending pain pathways

Supraspinal centres serve critical roles in producing behavioral responses to pain and modulating the excitability of spinal pain networks.  This descending pain modulation system (DPMS) comprises several centres in the brain with the periaqueductal grey (PAG) serving as an integrative centre. The PAG has
significant afferent input from the forebrain and limbic system and an efferent projection to the brainstem. 

Significant postnatal changes occur in the PAG and brainstem that profoundly effect sensory processing. This project aims to detail changes in the function and connectivity of the PAG across postnatal development

 

 

Subhashisa
Subhashisa Swain
Commenced: 01/02/2018  Lead supervisor: Prof Weiya Zhang

Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis and it’s comorbidities

Osteoarthritis (OA) is very common in older people and may result in chronic joint pain and disability. Despite the rise in multimorbidity there is little information available on the proportion it among people living with OA and how it changes with time. According to research, in the UK three in ten people have more than one long term condition.  However, there is no clear understanding of their association with OA.

This research aims to use machine learning and advanced statistical techniques: to understand the epidemiology of OA and multiple chronic conditions associated with. Furthermore, the risk and impact of multiple chronic conditions in OA will be studied in detail.

 

Gabriela July 2018v2

Gabriela Sandoval-Plata

Commenced: 01/10/2018  Lead supervisor: Dr Abhishek Abhishek

Gene expression analysis and Risk of gout: a case-control study

Gout is one of the most common forms of inflammatory arthritis, with a prevalence of 2.49% in the UK. It is characterised by abrupt episodes of acute inflammation and severe pain in joints due to monosodium urate (MSU) crystals deposition as a consequence of hyperuricemia. Despite being crucial to gout, hyperuricemia does not necessarily cause the disease, but the reasons underlying the progress from asymptomatic crystal deposition in people with hyperuricemia to gout remains unclear. Moreover, clinical variation among patients with gout in terms of the age of onset, frequency of attacks and the development of tophi is still poorly understood.

Based on the fundamental role of NLRP3 inflammasome and toll-like receptors (TLR) pathway in the immune response to MSU crystals, the aim of the present project is to analyse gene expression of inflammasome and TLR-related genes, to evaluate if a differential expression is associated to a specific phenotype of gout (e.g. early-onset, frequent attacks). In addition, a risk model will be developed to distinguish gout cases vs controls.

 

Polykarpos
Polykarpos Angelos Nomikos
Commenced: 1/12/2017  Lead supervisor: Dr Abhishek Abhishek

Developing and evaluating the feasibility of a nurse-led complex package of care for knee pain.

Knee OA manifests clinically with pain, stiffness and disability. Knee pain is a common problem, with 25% of the population older than 55 years in age having persistent knee pain and knee pain present on most days of the previous month, is present in one in five adults over the age of 40 years.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have recommended core, adjunctive non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments for OA. However, core treatments suggested by NICE are under-utilised as both doctors and patients often focus predominantly on pharmacological systemic analgesics alone. Doctors do not appear to be best suited for managing knee pain due to OA. Even enhanced GP consultations based on an OA guidebook followed by referral to a practice nurse-led OA clinic and provision of a written information on OA did not improve several quality indicators for knee OA.

The overall purpose of the study is to test the feasibility of conducting a RCT of a nurse-led complex intervention comprising education, non-pharmacological and pharmacological principles of management of OA and knee pain.

 

 

Khalid_Jul 2018
Khalid Yaseen
Commenced: 1/10/2017  Lead supervisor: Dr Michelle Hall

 

 

Burak
Burak Kundakci
Commenced: 1/4/2017   Lead supervisor: Dr Abhishek Abhishek

Development of an optimal non-pharmacological treatment package for fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common chronic condition that manifests with chronic widespread pain or multiple regional pain, and with other associated core symptoms of fatigue, non-restorative sleep and cognitive dysfunction. After osteoarthritis, FM is the second most common rheumatologic condition, and affects 2-8% of the whole population. Universally guidelines on the management of FM support a multi-faceted approach combining non-pharmacological interventions as first-line therapy and pharmacological interventions as adjunctive treatment, with an emphasis on an individualised patient-centred approach.

The overall purpose of the project is the development of an optimal non-pharmacological treatment package for FM. The study has the following objectives: Firstly, a systematic review with meta-analysis will be conducted to evaluate the efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions for people with FM. Secondly, a Delphi exercise will be undertaken and finally there will be a feasibility study to assess the acceptability of developed non-pharmacological treatment package.

 

Sameer Gohir2
Sameer Gohir
Commenced: 1/1/2018  Lead supervisor: Dr Ana Valdes

Digital Exercise Intervention for Knee OA – Link between sleep and pain relief

Knee osteoarthritis is a most common form of arthritis in the world. In the United Kingdom, 10% of 65-74-year-old individuals consult their general practitioners about osteoarthritis per year. Knee arthritis is a significant issue in the elderly population, therefore, a cheaper community-based intervention approach will be beneficial for both these patients and the NHS. 

The aim of this study is to explore the benefits of web-based physical exercises in the patients with knee osteoarthritis to establish if their pain decreases after six weeks of intervention. We will be using a web-based exercise platform known as Joint Academy. Participants in the intervention group will be asked to log in and practice knee exercises for 30 minutes daily. We will assess their sleep patterns using actigraphy; pain detection levels by quantitative sensory testing; and signs of inflammation and muscle mass using musculoskeletal ultrasound, in addition to completing standardised pain and sleep questionnaires. 

Studying these parameters will help us to understand the traits of osteoarthritis, their correlation to each other and potential detrimental effects of them on the health of knee joint.

 

Asta Tranholm
Asta Tranholm
Commenced: 1/10/2017  Lead Supervisor: Prof Cornelia de Moor

Understanding the role of messenger RNA regulation in pain nerves during osteoathritis

Hyperalgesia is a recognised feature of osteoarthritis which is at least in part due to changes in nociceptor neurons that innervate the joint. Regulation of local protein synthesis by mRNA localisation and cytoplasmic polyadenylation have recently been implicated in nociceptor plasticity. It has been shown that the polyadenylation inhibitor cordycepin affects pain behaviour in rodent models of osteoarthritis (OA). This project will aim to increase our knowledge of which mRNAs are localised and polyadenylated in nociceptor neurons and their role in hyperalgesia. Advanced gene therapy techniques will be utilised to evaluate the role of polyadenylation in regulating protein synthesis of specific mRNAs in axons of pain nerves in cell culture systems as well as a mouse model of OA.

 

Matthew Swift_May 2018 v2
Matthew Swift
Commenced:      Lead Supervisor: Prof Lucy Donaldson

 

 

Adele Edwards
Commenced:     Lead Supervisor: Prof Victoria Chapman

Developmental changes in neural stem cell responses in the spinal cord and the influence of painful stimulation

Neural stem cells (NSCs) are highly proliferative cells that play a fundamental role in the generation of glial cells and neurones in the developing CNS. There are high numbers of NSCs in the CNS throughout development, however in adulthood they become confined to specific regions including the central canal of the spinal cord. The role of NSCs has been explored following adult spinal cord injury but whether they play a role in the spinal processing of pain is yet to be investigated. This project aims to investigate NSC expression in the spinal cord throughout normal postnatal development and identify whether there are changes in NSC responses following painful stimulation both in early life and adulthood

 

Dimitris Amantis_Passport-40x60 mm
Dimitrios Amantis
Commenced: 01/10/2017  Lead Supervisor: Prof Lucy Donaldson

Peripheral contributions to the developing and maintenance of chronic pain in osteoarthritis in the knee joints

Practically I will aim to understand how pain progresses during the disease specifically in the peripheral nervous system in conjunction with the signalling to the CNS.

Moreover, given the inconsistency of the drugs that currently exist against OA, I will focus my research on understanding the basic mechanisms of VEGFA isoforms when used against OA, since there are evidence that targeting VEFGA can reduce pain. However the question of what happens to the inflammation still stands. Moving forward in the next steps of the PhD I will try to tackle the question of how inflammation progresses and alters in conjuction to pain.

 

Arman Tadjibaev
Arman Tadjibaev
Commenced: 01/10/2016  Lead Supervisor: Prof Dorothee Auer

A link between chronic pain and anxiety

Incidence of anxiety disorders among chronic pain patients is disproportionately higher than in general population. Anxious pain patients are characterized by decreased pain thresholds, increased pain levels, more daily complaints, poorer quality of life and worse outcome of treatment. Underlying mechanisms of negative influence of anxiety on pain are still poorly understood.

The main aim of my research is to understand neural mechanisms of coexistence of two disorders and to suggest new methods of treatment and management of chronic pain conditions with co-morbid anxiety.

 

SaraGoncalvesv2
Sara Gonçalves
Commenced: 01/09/2016 Lead Supervisor: Prof Victoria Chapman

Mechanistic studies of the impact of chronic pain on brain, behaviour and cognition in rat models of osteoarthritis

This project aims to determine how chronic osteoarthritis (OA) pain affects two important everyday cognitive functions, memory and attention, by combining methods from pain research and behavioural and integrative neuroscience. The monoiodoacetate (MIA) model of knee OA in rats will be used to examine the impact on hippocampus-dependent memory and prefrontal-dependent attention, using the watermaze DMP and the 5CSRT tests, respectively. Furthermore, we will characterise changes within these key brain regions.

 

Lydia_DSCN9550
Lydia Sinnett-Smith
Commenced: 01/10/2016     Lead Supervisor: Prof Victoria Chapman

Mechanistic studies of the transition from acute to chronic pain in osteoarthritis models

This project will examine the central and peripheral mechanisms involved in mediating the transition from acute to chronic pain in clinically-relevant animal models of osteoarthritis. These mechanisms will be investigated using both in vivo and ex vivo techniques, including single-unit spinal electrophysiology. Currently, changes in GABAergic signalling in the MIA model of OA pain are being explored using both agonists and antagonists of the GABAA receptor. 

 

Amer Imraish
Commenced: 01/10/2014     Lead Supervisor: Dr. Gareth Hathway

Age-related Changes in the Phenotype of Spinal Microglia

Microglia play a central role in immune surveillance and modulation of neuroinflammation as well as playing a role in neurodevelopment.  Microglia play a crucial role in the development of pathological pain in adults but not early in life however little detail is known about the changing phenotype of spinal microglia during development. This project aims to understand the age-related changes in spinal microglia following activation with pathogen- and damage- associated molecular patterns.  This will be done by preparing microglial cultures from neonatal postnatal day (P) 1 adult (P40) rat spinal cords.  Furthermore, this project is particularly interested in investigating the role of nuclear receptor Nr4a2 in modulating the microglial cells in neuroinflammation.  Techniques including phagocytosis and nitric oxide production assays, and immunocytochemistry will be employed.  We will also perform quantitative assessment (qPCR) of expression levels of key inflammatory genes in isolated microglial cells.

 

Vasileios Georgopoulos
Vasileios Georgopoulos
Commenced: 01/10/2016 Lead supervisor: Prof David Walsh

Do pain mechanisms and levels of central sensitisation predict effective self-management in patients with Chronic Low Back Pain?

 Pain mechanisms and levels of central sensitisation reflect changes in the central nervous system and pain processing which may impact on the ability of patients to effectively cope and manage their pain effectively. Identification of these factors may allow early targeted management for these patients. As central sensitisation is not present on all patients suffering from a chronic musculoskeletal condition, efficient stratification must be followed to examine in detail the effectiveness of self-management. From an extended scope, the findings of the project might influence self-management procedures in other chronic pain states such as fibromyalgia, whiplash, chronic neck pain etc. as pain mechanisms function in the same way and central sensitisation follows similar patterns regardless of the condition.

 

Alexandra Durrant
Alexandra Durrant
Commenced: 01/10/2016 Lead supervisor: Prof Lucy Donaldson

Alterations in neurovascular barriers in response to chronic pain states across post-natal development

Multiple pain states are known to have an impact on the functioning of neurovascular barriers such as the blood brain barrier (BBB), blood spinal cord barrier (BSCB), and blood nerve barrier (BNB). These barriers are pivotal in controlling entry of potentially neurotoxic molecules and cells into the CNS and neural parenchyma, but under neuropathic and inflammatory conditions, barrier integrity can become compromised and allow infiltration of non-neuronal cells. This project aims to monitor the integrity of neurovascular barriers in response to nerve injury and inflammation, and to determine whether these responses differ with age.

 

Emma Dayman
Emma Dayman    
Commenced: 1/10/2016 Lead supervisor: Prof Victoria Chapman

Immunological contributions to age-dependent variations in response to cutaneous inflammation and the programming of later life pain

Pain pathways mature over the first weeks and months of life in rodents, and years in humans. In early life, thresholds to painful stimuli are lowered and behavioural responses to noxious stimuli are altered. Previous work has demonstrated that inflammatory stimulus leads to different nociceptive responses in the early life, compared with adulthood. 

My research aims to characterise the ability of various inflammatory stimuli to prime the nociceptive pathways in early life, and identify key differences in immunological and pain responses between neonates and adults. Furthermore, we will determine the impact this has on the response of the nociceptive system to re-exposure to inflammatory signals later in life. This project will use a range of in vivo and in vitro approaches to compare inflammatory processes in response to single and repeat inflammation in cutaneous tissue at different postnatal ages in rats. Techniques including FACS analysis, immunohistochemistry linked to fluorescence microscopy and pain behaviour assays will be utilised. We will also perform quantification of alterations in the expression of key genes involved in inflammatory processing in isolated inflammatory cells. 

          

Kehinde
Kehinde Akin-Akinyosoye
Commenced: 1/10/15.  Lead supervisor: Prof David Walsh

A clinical assessment tool to improve the use of pain relieving treatments in knee osteoarthritis

Phenotypes found to contribute to knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain via peripheral mechanisms and central mechanisms were used in the development of the questionnaire items. Items which discriminate between peripheral and central mechanisms of knee OA pain will be explored in order to develop a validated and reliable short clinical tool (which will include questions and, possibly, additional simple aspects of clinical assessment). Patient completed questionnaires will be considered for factor analysis to determine effective mechanism based stratification in patients.

 

 

Nuria_web-page-image-v2

Nuria Casanova Vallve

Commenced: 1/1/15.  Lead supervisor: Prof Victoria Chapman

The time-course of development of muscle wasting and insulin resistance in a rodent pain model of osteoarthritis.

The purpose of this study is to advance understanding of the relationship between pain and muscle function in knee OA and the contribution of changes in metabolism to OA pain, inflammation and muscle disuse. This will be achieved by determining longitudinal changes in muscle metabolism in well characterised rodent models of OA pain, and undertaking intervention studies to confirm the nature of associations between these clinical relevant features of OA. Identification of the changes in muscle carbohydrate oxidation associated with molecular signalling pathways leading to muscle atrophy will allow us to understand the role of a complex variation of factors involved in OA. It will be able to help future studies to identify better treatments for people living with OA.

 

 

Siew-Li
Siew Li Goh
Commenced: 1/10/15  Lead supervisor: Prof Weiya Zhang

Relative efficacy of different types of exercises in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis – a network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a common debilitating condition, especially amongst older people.  The main treatment aims are to reduce pain and improve function.  Various types of exercises, be it aerobic fitness or strengthening, land or aquatic - have generally been found to be beneficial in achieving these treatment goals. However it is unclear which of these exercises is more efficacious and whether there are an patient characteristics that predict treatment response. A network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials will be used to establish the efficacies of these exercises in relation to a common comparator. Finally, in order to predict treatment response, an individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis will be conducted.       

 

C Owles_ver 2
Catherine Owles
Commenced: 1/5/15   Lead supervisor: Dr John Harris

Investigations of the origins of altered pain perception in a commercial pig strain

This project will examine the relationship between degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) and pain in commercial breeder pigs.  Pain behaviours will be evaluated in commercial pigs and the relationship to joint disorders evaluated by assessing joint chondropathy, changes in the phenotype of sensory nerves innervating the affected joint, changes in the spinal cord and changes in the synovium and synovial fluid. The results found in pigs will then be compared to a well validated rodent model of osteoarthritis pain, with a secondary aim of the project to evaluate pig joint disease as a model of human osteoarthritis.

 

Monica-Persson
Monica Persson
Commenced: 1/10/15 Lead supervisor: Prof Weiya Zhang

Relative efficacy of topical NSAIDs and topical capsaicin in osteoarthritis and neuropathic pain

The project aims to better understand the mechanism of pain in osteoarthritis. It will aim to do so by identifying treatment responders, making comparisons between treatments with different mechanisms of action, and between osteoarthritic and neuropathic pain. Conventional, network, and individual patient data meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials evaluating the efficacy of topical NSAIDs and topical capsaicin in osteoarthritis will be conducted. The relative efficacy of both treatments will be assessed in osteoarthritis, and treatment responders will be identified. Comparisons will be made with randomised controlled trials of neuropathic pain.

  

V-Simmonds-photo-rejig
Vicki Simmonds
Commenced: 1/10/13  Lead supervisor: Dr John Harris

Translational studies of central sensitization in the rat monosodium iodoacetate model of osteoarthritis pain

This project will use pre-clinical animal models of knee osteoarthritis (OA) to investigate the effects of chronic pain on descending inhibitory controls by looking at how diffuse noxious inhibitory controls (DNIC) modulate spinal nociceptive reflexes. DNIC can be evoked by applying a noxious stimulus to widespread areas of the body outside the peripheral excitatory receptive field of the reflex and previous studies have shown that dysfunction in these inhibitory pain pathways may be a key contributor to chronic pain. By investigating whether DNIC is altered in OA and the mechanisms underlying these alterations, we hope to increase our understanding of pain mechanisms during OA.

  

Previous studentships

H-Alshuft

Hamza Alshuft

Dates: Apr 10 - Mar 2014

Supervisor: Dr R Dineen

Structural brain changes in chronic pain of knee osteoarthritis

Hamza was appointed to investigate the structural brain changes associated with chronic pain of knee osteoarthritis. Up-to-date structural image analysis tools were used to quantitatively analyse high-resolution brain images obtained using advanced MRI scanning techniques

 

 

 

pic3

Louis Brailsford

Dates: Jan 11 - Dec 14

Supervisor: Dr A Bennett

The role of lipid signalling in osteoclasts: contributions to osteoarthritic pain

Osteoclasts have an important role in bone remodelling and have been shown to contribute to bone cancer induced pain. Both clinical and preclinical evidence supports a role of osteoclasts in osteoarthritis, which is associated with bone remodelling and chronic pain. This project investigated the signalling pathways which mediate osteoclastogenesis using a combination of molecular biology, primary cell culture, mass spectrometry and fluorescence imaging techniques. The potential interactions of these signalling pathways with peripheral pain mechanisms were assessed in models of osteoarthritic pain.

 

ChenIMG20120206130946

Xi Chen

Dates: Nov 11 - Oct 14

Supervisor: Dr W Zhang

The placebo effect and its determinants in fibromyalgia

The project investigated the placebo effect in fibromyalgia and its potential determinants in randomized controlled trials. Meta-analysis was used to summarise the placebo and nocebo effects for different types of placebos. The effect sizes were compared between fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. The duration of the placebo effect and associated factors were examined.

 

 

 

 

Juntingmy-photograph

Junting Huang

Dates: Sept 11 - Jul 14

Supervisor: Prof V Chapman

Investigation of inflammatory mechanisms in models of osteoarthritic pain

The contribution of peripheral and central inflammatory responses to pain responses associated with osteoarthritis (OA) will be studied in models of OA pain. Techniques will include behavioural studies of pain responses and ex vivo analysis of tissues from these models. Immunohistochemistry, western blotting and RT-PCR will be used to investigate expression levels of receptors, cytokines and other pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators in these models of OA pain

 

XuLutingphoto

 

Luting Xu (Tracey)

Dates: Oct 10 - Sept 14

Supervisor: Dr A Bennett

The role of TRPV1 signalling in osteoclastogenesis and pain in osteoarthritis

Luting (Tracey) focused on elucidating the mechanism underlying the formation of osteoclast in OA and how it was associated with OA pain.  Molecular biology, gene expression analysis and cytohisochemistry techniques were employed. The PhD programme focusses on the TRPV1 signaling pathway, modulation by lipid metabolism and its relationship with pathological bone remodeling in osteoarthritic joints

 

 

KunIMG20120206131032

 

Kun Zuo

Dates: Oct 11 - Jul 14

Supervisor: Prof W Zhang

The contextual effect of treatments in osteoarthritis

Kun undertook a project to examine the relative effect of placebo (contextual effect) in complementary therapy in osteoarthritis (OA). The PhD project investigated the effect size of the contextual effect for each complimentary treatment modality. Comparisons were made between treatments, as well as between OA and other chronic painful conditions (fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis). Meta-analysis was used to combine results and different treatment categories and determinants of the contextual effect and related adverse events (nocebo effects) were also examined

 
 

A-Haywood-pic

Adrian Haywood

Dates: Oct 11 - Oct 15

Supervisor: Prof V Chapman

Contributions of spinal and supraspinal sites to the pain associated with osteoarthritis
The objective of my studentship is to investigate the relative contributions of: sensory neurones that innervate osteoarthritic (OA) joints, and neurones in supraspinal centres that control pain responses; to the induction and maintenance of the chronic pain associated with OA. These studies will use models of OA pain to investigate changes in the expression of key neurotransmitters, receptors and non-neuronal cells at various time-points through the establishment of OA pain within the central nervous system. Electromyographic (EMG) and electrophysiological single-unit recordings will provide quantified data regarding the establishment of central sensitisation in the spinal cord. 
 

Lilian

Lilian Nwosu

Dates: Oct 11 - Oct 15

Supervisor: Prof D Walsh

Structural pain modification in models of osteoarthritis 
This project will use interventions in models of knee OA, with clinical validation where feasible, to explore the potential of modifying nerve growth and osteochondral permeabilisation as a sustained analgesic approach in OA. Effects on pain behaviour will be distinguished between those due to structural modification and short term analgesic effects according to their associations with structural change and persistence after treatment withdrawal, and by comparison with centrally acting analgesic agents. Possible confounding by inflammation will be addressed.
 

LStoppiello

Laura Wyatt (nee Stoppiello)

Dates: Oct 11 - Oct 15

Supervisor: Prof D Walsh

Structual associations of pain in human knee osteoarthritis 

A comparison of structural and biochemical factors in joint tissues from knees of patients undergoing joint replacement surgery for OA pain with those with similar degrees of chondropathy that have been obtained post mortem from people who have not sought help for knee pain. The development of key structural and biochemical changes with OA disease progression will be determined by comparing human tissues to OA models. Knee joint structural and biochemical changes predicting pain phenotype will be explored. Finally, one key molecular or structural target emerging from these studies will be tested in interventional studies in an appropriately validated model.

 
 

 

 

Charles-Greenspon_media-20140907

Charles Greenspon

Dates: Jan 15 - May 18

Supervisor: Dr G Hathway

Postnatal neurophysiological development of nociception: integration and representation into supraspinal networks

My project aimed to understand fundamental physiological aspects of chronic pain by understanding how both the spinal cord and brain respond and adapt to it. This was done using a model of arthritis so that any discoveries made are relevant to many people who are in pain. The techniques that this project developed should provide a framework for further comprehensive work to be done that may be more relevant in a clinical setting. Furthermore, this project was particularly interested in how the pathways and networks that are relevant to chronic pain develop in adolescence. Significant work was done to measure and understand how neural nociceptive-evoked activity changes over development. 

 

 

 

 

 

Fatimah-Almahasneh-photograph

Fatimah Almahasneh

Dates: Apr 14 - Mar 18

Supervisor: Prof L Donaldson

Role of prostaglandins in the periaqueductal gray in the central modulation of osteoarthritis pain

The experience of pain in osteoarthritis (OA) is significantly affected by central pathways of pain modulation, where the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) is known to play a crucial role through central sensitization and hyperalgesia. Prostaglandins (PGs) enhance nociceptive transmission both peripherally and centrally, and have been recognized as mediators of PAG-facilitated modulation of pain. 

This study aims to look into the role of PGs in the PAG in the descending facilitation of nociception in OA using the monoiodoacetate (MIA) model, as well as the complete Freud's adjuvant (CFA) model of inflammatory arthritis, and conduct a comparison between the two models.  Techniques such as PCR, immunofluorescence and electromyography (EMG) recording will be used in this project.

 

Den_image-for-PhD-paragraph

Meesawatsom Pongsatorn (Den)

Dates: Oct 13 - Sept 17

Supervisor: Prof V Chapman

Targeting the resolution of inflammation to reduce spinal excitability and pain
Resolvins are endogenous lipid mediators derived from docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, D-series) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, E-series) that exhibit potent anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving properties. One of these products, known as aspirin triggered resolvin D1 (AT-RvD1), has robust analgesic lead compound for the treatment of pain from different origins, focusing on potential spinal mechanisms of action. I have demonstrated inhibitory effects of spinal AT-RvD1 in a model of acute inflammatory pain, but this effect is lost in a model of osteoarthritis pain. An ongoing study will evaluate its effects in a model of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathic pain. Further studies will investigate the underlying mechanisms that lead to the differential inhibition of spinal nociceptive processing by AT-RvD1 in models of acute versus chronic pain.
 

 

 

 

 

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Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre

Clinical Sciences Building
City Hospital
Nottingham, NG5 1PB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 1766 ext 31766
fax: +44 (0) 115 823 1757
email: paincentre@nottingham.ac.uk