Student researchers awarded at biennial Texas Pain Research Consortium
April 27, 2021
This month, the Texas Pain Research Consortium assembled for their biennial conference which included predoctoral research presentations. Katie V. Lillis and Meilinn Tram received recognition from the Consortium for their research.
Katie, a third-year neuroscience PhD candidate in Dr. Anibal Diogenes’ lab, was awarded for the Best Pre-Doctoral Poster, “Trigeminal Ganglia Nociceptors Modulate Periapical Bone Loss in Apical Periodontitis”.
Her project explores a novel therapeutic approach targeting the activity of pain-sensing neurons as a mechanism to protect against the bone loss that can occur from inflammatory diseases like apical periodontitis. The pain-sensing neurons, she explains, can delay certain immune-response cells and this improves the cellular bone-building activity in the affected area.
Meilinn, a third-year dental student and PhD candidate in Dr. Ken Hargreaves’ lab, received the Data Blitz Speaker Selection Award for her project, “Effects of a High Omega-6 Diet on Orofacial Allodynia and Gene Expression Patterns in the Trigeminal Ganglia”.
She found that a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids may trigger sensory neurons, increasing the risk for painful sensations in the muscles, bones, or joints of the face and mouth. Her studies may lead to the development of novel preventative and therapeutic strategies to treat orofacial pain.
The Texas Pain Research Consortium was founded in 2015 at The University of Texas at Dallas to assemble leading pain scientists from universities across Texas. The Consortium provides collaboration opportunities and promotes Texas’ pain research advancements.