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UCL Division of Biosciences

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Dr Sandrine Geranton

Dr Sandrine Geranton

Associate Professor

Cell & Developmental Biology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2003

Research summary

Chronic pain currently affects 1 in 5 European adults and predicting whether an individual is susceptible to develop chronic pain, which would allow early and preventive treatment, is an extremely difficult challenge. This is because pain is a sensory experience not only determined by the intensity of the injury but also by a number of factors including our past experiences. Past experiences can indeed strongly influence human behaviour and can be imprinted onto our fix genome via so-called epigenetic mechanisms. 

Our hypothesis is that the predisposition to develop chronic pain could be recognized as an epigenetic signature, set in the central nervous system. In this context, we are particularly interested in genes of the stress axis, such as FKBP51 and the glucocorticoid receptor, which are known to be primed for hyper-responsiveness by childhood trauma and to contribute to the development and maintenance of hypersensitive states.

Education

University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2003
Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie de Montpellier
First Degree, Diplome d'Ingenieur Chimiste | 1999
University of West England
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1999

Biography

Dr. Sandrine Géranton is a Lecturer at University College London (UCL), UK. Her research focuses on the understanding of the molecular biology of pain states. Currently, research in her lab is organised around 2 themes: 1. the role of epigenetic mechanisms and environmental influences in the development of chronic pain conditions and 2. the role of the stress regulator FKBP51 in the maintenance of long term pain states. Dr. Géranton and her team have recently uncovered an important role for FKBP51 in the control of chronic pain states and the outcome of their research was published in Science Translational Medicine.


Dr. Géranton studied organic chemistry and biochemistry at the “Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier” in France. She then went to the UK where she obtained an MSc in biotechnology at the University of the West of England. After a short visit to the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, where she acquired basic molecular techniques, Dr. Géranton joined UCL where she carried out a PhD in the then department of Pharmacology. She went on learning about pain mechanisms as a post-doctoral researcher with the London Pain Consortium, under the supervision of Prof. Stephen Hunt. Dr. Géranton has always been keen on applying her multidisciplinary background to further her understanding of the molecular biology of pain states. She has been at the forefront of the investigation of the role of epigenetic mechanisms in the development of pain states, a field for which she has been asked to write numerous reviews.

Publications