GUIDO FAAS, Ph.D. Assistant Researcher Director of Basic Research, UCLA Goldberg Migraine Program
Dr. Faas completed his Ph.D. in Neurophysiology at the University of Amsterdam, after which he did post-doctoral work at Utrecht University, and then at Baylor College of Medicine. He then moved to UCLA to work as professional scientific researcher. In the laboratory Dr. Faas studies the neurological mechanisms that underlie migraine, headache, and pain. He uses mouse models in which he evokes specific brain activities that are similar to those that occur in patients with migraine. By studying these brain activities and correlated changes in behavior, he is building a physiological model of how migraine attacks are triggered and how they persist. Such a model is an invaluable tool to develop both pharmacological and non-pharmalogical therapies to acutely treat and prevent migraine attacks. Although mouse models have already provided many important insights, these models have been limited because it has only been possible to look at migraine mechanisms for short periods of time during which mice are under anesthesia. Understandably, not all findings under this condition are physiologically relevant to individuals under ‘normal’ conditions. Dr. Faas has recently developed techniques in which microelectronics are attached to the intact skull to measure migraine specific activity in awake and freely moving mice. Since these electronics are minimally invasive, brain activities can be studied over long periods of time that are more relevant to migraine. In combination with behavioral assays, such as the study movement and light avoidance behavior, Dr. Faas currently focuses studies on how migraine is modulated by day/night rhythms/ sleeping patterns and the menstrual cycle. These approaches have many other potential applications. In addition to this research to gain a better basic understanding of migraine he is using the similar techniques to develop a non-invasive and non-pharmacological therapy to treat migraine and pain by stimulating the brain and peripheral neurons. With this study, it is his ultimate goal to develop a compact device with which patients can treat migraine attacks, as well as neuropathic pain.