Future Leaders in Pain Research
2010 Grant Recipient: Christopher D. King, PhD
University of Florida College of Dentistry
Opioid Modulation of Two Models of Pain Inhibition in Healthy Controls and Patients with Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
Please state which institution you are currently conducting research.
I am currently working at the University of Florida. How did receiving the Future Leaders in Pain Research Grant Impact your career in pain research? The “Future Leaders in Pain Research Grant” provided several benefits. In addition to financial support for the study, it provided an opportunity to pursue my own research interests and assisted in the collection of pilot data, which will be used for future grant applications and manuscripts.
What is your current research focus? Briefly describe the importance of this work and how it advances the APS goals, mission, and your own personal development.
The current focus of my research is to understand the neurobiological mechanisms related to the development and persistence of altered sensory processing, which is commonly observed in patients with chronic pain (i.e., Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, TMD). I have several grant applications pending related to TMD, which was supported by the Future Leaders in Pain Research Grant In addition, I am also pursuing other conditions associated with altered sensory processing. In fact, I was selected as a KL2 scholar by Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Florida, which I will be evaluating altered sensory processing in patients with cancer. Research related to cancer and its treatments, which often result in abnormal sensory processing and pain, has a direct impact on patient survivorship and quality of life. While applying my background in pain psychophysics, I plan to address issues related to altered sensory processing and pain in the context of psychosocial mediators. This research is also appropriate for the APS since it is a goal to “increase the knowledge of pain and transform public policy and clinical practice to reduce pain-related suffering,” which is needed to address issues in patients with cancer especially related to cancer treatment. I also have a personal interest in cancer-related pain after observing my father’s experience with cancer. It is my hope that my research will assist in the development of interventions to improve the quality of life, reduced symptom burden, and overall survivorship in cancer patients.
Are you still an APS member? If yes, do you feel that it has been of value to your professional development?
Yes, the APS has provided a number of opportunities to develop my understanding of issues outside my main area of interest. The APS has also provided opportunities to meet and network with well-established researchers and other young investigators in the field of pain. I have benefited from both of the opportunities in terms of developing future collaborations, developing and refining research ideas, and becoming an active participant in promoting the mission of the APS through my research and interactions with my patients. The SIG meetings have also been helpful.