OMS Faculty Lands Competitive Grant for Migraine Research
October 29, 2019
With over 9 million sufferers worldwide, migraines are a common and debilitating public health problem. On the front-line combating migraine pain is Yu Shin Kim, Ph.D., M.S., Associate Professor in the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Dr. Kim has been awarded a 2-year, $150,000 grant from Amgen, a biotechnology company, to further his research.
Using state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge techniques, Dr. Kim’s lab has been able to develop a method for improved high-resolution imaging of live tissues and recordings of the electrophysiology of primary sensory cells. For the first time, Dr. Kim’s lab has been able to successfully image primary sensory neuron activity from the skin, cell bodies, and the spinal dorsal horn.
This improved imaging method has allowed Dr. Kim to collect populational level data showing cross-talk between larger neurons and nociceptive neurons or pain receptors. Continuing this research, Dr. Kim expects to find spontaneous activation and cross-talk patterns of the trigeminal ganglion (TG neurons), a sensory ganglion of the trigeminal nerve located under the brain, in multiple migraine models and also cross-talk between touch and pain receptors. The belief is that by blocking this receptor-meditated cross-talk, analgesic effects will be achieved.
Dr. Kim is hopeful that this research will lead to novel therapeutic treatment for migraines. He explains that, “a major limitation of prior research has been the difficulty of observing TG neuron firing patterns on a populational level in vivo. Our populational level results will allow other researchers to focus their single cell and tissue slice based research on important neuron subtypes, key receptors and firing patterns we will discover here.”