Basic Research

Our laboratories use imaging and electrophysiological recording techniques to investigate basic brain signaling mechanisms that are involved in migraine, stroke, brain tumors, and other disorders of the central nervous system.

MOUSE BEHAVIORAL ASSAYS RELEVANT TO MIGRAINE

In collaboration with Amynah Pradhan in the Department of Psychiatry, we have developed assays of mouse behavior that may be relevant to migraine. Mice respond to the migraine trigger nitroglycerin with hypersensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli that is progressive and sustained with repetitive administration over time. In addition to this hyperalgesia, mice respond to nitroglycerin with aversive behavior such that they avoid the location where they received the nitroglycerin. This assay, known as conditioned place aversion, is an indication of the negative emotional state produced by a given stimulus. Our initial studies indicate that these assays may have predictive value for acute migraine therapies.

NEURONAL SIGNALING AND PHARMACOLOGY

Migraine involves changes in the excitability of neurons in multiple brain regions that may trigger attacks, and also activation of neurons that transmit pain signals that generate headache. We study the function of neurons from the brain cortex that are thought to generate migraine aura, as well as neurons from the trigeminal ganglion that are believed to transmit the pain of headache as well as other facial pain disorders. We study the effects of different neurotransmitters on neuronal signaling -- we are particularly interested in the role of opioids in the regulation of brain excitability and pain transmission. We also study the effects of the neurotransmitters glutamate, GABA, serotonin, ATP, and adenosine among others with the goal of identifying novel therapies that target the cellular signaling pathways that are activated by these transmitters.

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INTERCELLULAR CALCIUM WAVE IN GLIA

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CORTICAL NEURONS - RESPONSE TO NMDA

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CORTICAL SPREADING DEPRESSION IN MOUSE

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