Future Leaders in Pain Research
2012 Grant Recipient: David A. Seminowicz, PhD
University of Maryland
Brain Networks in a Rodent Model of Neuropathic Pain
Please state which institution you are currently conducting research.
University of Maryland, Baltimore
School of Dentistry
Department of Neural and Pain Sciences
How did receiving the Future Leaders in Pain Research Grant impact your career in pain research?
While most of my research involves human studies, this grant has allowed me to continue my rodent neuroimaging research, which is a smaller, but important part of my overall research program.
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.
My lab broadly focuses on development, maintenance, and reversal (with intervention) of brain structural and functional changes associated with chronic pain. The rodent neuroimaging study funded by this grant focused on the first area: brain changes associated with the development of chronic neuropathic pain and the transition from acute to chronic pain. This is a difficult area to explore in human research. The translational goal of the research is to help us understand why some people develop chronic pain after an injury, while others heal without persistent pain. If we could figure that out, and then figure out how to prevent the development of chronic pain, we could potentially prevent a huge amount of suffering. There is a lot of work to be done, but we are making small steps that will help patients even in the short term. Although my work is specifically aimed at uncovering mechanisms of chronic pain, keeping in mind the general goal of improving outcomes for patients is what continues to motivate me.
Are you still an APS member? If yes, do you feel that it has been of value to your professional development?
I am an APS member and an active participant in APS activities, such as the Basic Science shared interest group, of which I was co-chair for the past two years. APS continues to provide me a sense of community, an outlet for research communications, networking opportunities, and advocacy that needless to say are significant to my career.