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Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research

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Dr Liam Browne

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Neural circuits for pain

Neural circuits for pain

Tel: 020 7679 6695
Email: liam.browne@ucl.ac.uk
http://www.brownelab.org

My lab is interested in the cells and circuits that drive protective behaviours and pain. Pain is a protective system that alerts us to potential damage from intense environmental stimuli. When this alarm system goes wrong, pain can become highly debilitating and a disease in itself. Our aim is to establish how specific cells and circuits in the central nervous system guide these behaviours, how they influence the experience of pain, and how they are altered in disease.

We have developed new ways to interrogate protective behavioural responses by exploiting advanced tools and technologies, including in vivo optogenetics, two-photon microscopy, electrophysiology, and viral strategies. We can control sensory input very precisely while measuring the complex behavioural responses to thousands of a second, the timescale at which the nervous system operates. By manipulating or monitoring activity in the neural circuits that underpin these behaviours, we examine how the nervous system encodes sensory information and orchestrates protective behaviours that are appropriate for dealing with a specific threat.

Our experiments focus on understanding how pain and appropriate protective behaviours are generated, and importantly, how these processes go wrong in disease.

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