Peter Grace, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
How/why did you enter the field of pain?
Largely through chance. The Department of Pharmacology, where I did my undergrad major, had a strong focus on translational pain research. I was intrigued by the clinical problem of pain, and decided to pursue my graduate degree in the area.
Why do you work in pain?
For two reasons: the first is that pain is still a tremendous burden to society, and there is room for more people to be tackling this difficult problem. The second is that pain biology is really interesting, given that it involves so many subdivisions, and hence functions, of the nervous system.
How has being a Future Leaders recipient transformed your career?
The Future Leaders award gave me the opportunity to start exploring my own research ideas as a postdoc. I was able to pitch some of these ideas during interviews for faculty positions, and then land my current tenure-track position.
What is your favorite part of your work, and why?
Getting an unexpected experimental result, and then reformulating the working model. Science would be mundane if the results were always predictable.