Professor Frank Porreca

Several themes have guided my research including (a) the role of descending modulatory circuits in pain and headache; (b) the intersection between pain and reward pathways; (c) the mechanisms by which opioids and stress engage descending modulatory circuits and (d) the discovery of molecules that can act within these circuits to provide initial research tools for mechanistic evaluation. My laboratory continues to study the physiological roles of endogenous opioids and their receptors within specific circuits including the mesolimbic circuit, the extended amygdala circuit and within cortical circuits. In addition, we have a strong interest in advancing knowledge of migraine using preclinical models developed in my laboratory. We have studied chronic migraine including medication overuse headache and the role of CGRP and prolactin. We have also studied mechanisms of post-traumatic headache with emphasis on translational approaches for therapy.

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