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​National Meeting Highlights Pitt Research into Mechanisms of Pain and Tolerance

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Courtney Caprara

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WHAT: University of Pittsburgh scientists studying the biological mechanisms of chronic and acute pain will present findings from their ongoing research into pain treatment, management and drug dependence and tolerance at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Pain Society in Pittsburgh.
WHY: Pain is one of the most common reasons for doctor visits in the United States. However, the underlying biology behind many acute and chronic pain conditions is poorly understood and treatments, while available, are not efficient or effective. The ongoing opioid epidemic also has placed into focus the pressing need to understand the mechanisms behind drug dependence and tolerance. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie pain sensation and response at the cellular, molecular and neuronal levels are crucial to developing new approaches to preventing and treating pain and drug dependence.
The Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research has one of the most advanced pain research programs in the country, combining basic and clinical research to develop the next generation of pain therapies and tackle the opioid epidemic through improved understanding of the biology of pain. 
WHO: The conference will feature posters and panel discussions led by researchers from the Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research and the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute including:
• Michael Gold, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology and chair of the scientific program committee for the meeting, whose research is focused on understanding how pain signals are transmitted through the nervous system.
• Brian Davis, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology and medicine, who studies how changes in the nervous system contribute to chronic pain, with a focus on addressing cancer-associated pain.
• Sarah Ross, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology, who aims to understand the biology of itching and how neural circuits integrate sensory information.
• Richard Koerber, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology, who studies how pain is processed following injury.
• Howard Gutstein, M.D., Dr. Peter and Eva Safar Professor and chair of anesthesiology, who researches the molecular mechanism of opioid tolerance and dependence and the interactions between pain and analgesic signaling.
• Donald S. Burke, M.D., dean of the Pitt Graduate School of Public Health, who looks at the epidemiology of pain and how data-driven simulations can forecast future overdose deaths.
WHEN: Wednesday, May 17 to Friday, May 20, 2017. A complete schedule of the meeting can be found online.
WHERE: David L. Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd., Pittsburgh 15222
Note to media: To speak with Pitt researchers presenting at this event, prior arrangements must be made by contacting Arvind Suresh at or 412-509-8207. To access the press room at the conference, please contact Chuck Weber at or 262-473-3018.