Somatosensory Signaling and Systems Biology

The perception of and appropriate reaction to external and internal stimuli is critical for survival. In vertebrates, chemical, mechanical (from pleasant touch to painful contact) and thermal stimuli are detected by specialized somatic sensory neurons which transfer these signals via the spinal cord to the brain. An important subset of these neurons, so-called nociceptors, senses noxious stimuli. Consequently, their activation mediates nociception and leads to the sensation of pain.

Pain is the single most common symptom for which patients seek medical assistance. While acute pain has served as a protective mechanism throughout evolution to guard the body against injury, pain can also become chronic and highly debilitating. Unfortunately, chronic pain imposes substantial challenges to medical practice: current therapies can be effective for short-term treatment, however, many do not provide sufficient relief to chronic conditions, and often cause strong side-effects. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the specific molecular mechanisms underlying both, acute and chronic pain is crucially needed.

Our research focuses on the comparative and quantitative analysis of somatosensory signaling networks in established mouse models of acute and chronic pain. To this purpose our lab employs an integrative approach from comprehensive proteome profiling via mass spectrometry, biochemistry, calcium-imaging, and electrophysiology to virus-mediated gene transfer in mice and mouse behavioral studies.

Please see also our research report 2016 (only available in German): 
Proteinmuster chronischer Schmerzen entziffern

We are grateful to our funding sources:

Emmy Noether Program, DFG
Research Grants, DFG
CRC 889, DFG
Max von Frey Preis 2015 und Förderpreis 2015, Dt. Schmerzgesellschaft
MPI and GGNB Junior Group Leader Support
Go to Editor View