Robert W. Gereau, Ph.D.


Neurosciences Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program

  • 314-362-8312

  • 314-362-8795

  • 314-362-8334

  • 8054

  • 5530 Clinical Sciences Research Building



  • pain, neurobiology, ion channel, synaptic transmission, signal transduction, optogenetics, electrophysiology

  • Cellular and molecular mechanisms of chronic pain, preclinical and translational research

Research Abstract:

Our lab is interested in determining the cellular and molecular changes that underlie the development of chronic pain conditions. Over 100 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from chronic pain, but the treatments available to these patients are few and their use is limited by severe side effects of these medications. Unfortunately for these individuals, little progress has been made in the development of new types of medications to treat pain. In our lab, we utilize a combination of behavioral studies, patch clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics, molecular biology and genetic approaches to understand the role of neurotransmitter receptors and signaling pathways involved in nervous system plasticity that underlies pain sensitization. Our studies examine plasticity in primary sensory neurons where painful stimuli are transduced, in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord where the first synaptic relay occurs for pain signals headed to the brain, and in the amygdala, a region of the brain important for the negative emotional components of pain. Our goal is to identify molecular targets for the development of new classes of pain relieving medications, and to test these mechanisms in preclinical (mouse) models and in humans. The lab has a strong focus on clinical translation. To that end, we also conduct proof of concept clinical studies in healthy volunteers and patients to test the potential clinical efficacy of therapies that modulate the molecular pathways we have identified in our preclinical studies.

Selected Publications:

Davidson S, Copits BA, Zhang JM Page G, Ghetti A and Gereau RW (2014) Human sensory neurons: Membrane properties and sensitization by inflammatory mediators. Pain. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2014.06.017. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24973718.
*Selected by the Pain Research Forum as an “Editor’s Pick”

Lai HH, Gardner V, Ness TJ, and Gereau RW (2014) Segmental Hyperalgesia to Mechanical Stimulus in Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome - Evidence of Central Sensitization. Journal of Urology. 191(5):1294-9. PMID: 2431609

Crock LW, Kolber BJ, Morgan CD, Sadler KE, Vogt SK, Bruchas MR, Gereau RW 4th. (2012) Central amygdala metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 in the modulation of visceral pain. Journal of Neuroscience. 32(41):14217-26

Schwedt TJ, Krauss MJ, Frey, K and Gereau RW. Episodic and chronic migraineurs are hypersensitive to thermal stimuli between migraine attacks. Cephalalgia 2011 31(1):6-12. PMID:209746

Hu HJ and Gereau RW. Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 regulates excitability and Kv4.2-containing K+ channels primarily in excitatory neurons of the spinal dorsal horn. Journal of Neurophysiology 2011 105:3010-21. PMID:21451053

Kolber BJ, Montana MC, Carrasquillo Y, Zhu J, Heinemann SF, Muglia L, and Gereau RW. Activation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 in the amygdala modulates pain-like behavior. Journal of Neuroscience 2010 30:8203-13.

Chiechio S, Zammataro M, Morales ME, Busceti CL, Drago F, Gereau RW, Copani A, and Nicoletti F. Epigenetic modulation of mGlu2 receptors by histone deacetylase inhibitors in the treatment of inflammatory pain. Molecular Pharmacology 2009 75:1014-20. PMID:19255242

Hu HJ, Alter BJ, Carrasquillo Y, Qiu CS, Gereau RW. Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 modulates nociceptive plasticity via extracellular signal-regulated kinase-Kv4.2 signaling in spinal cord dorsal horn neurons. Journal of Neuroscience 2007 27:13181-91.

Hu HJ, Carrasquillo Y, Karim F, Jung WE, Nerbonne JM, Schwarz TL, and Gereau RW. The Kv4.2 potassium channel subunit is required for pain plasticity. Neuron 2006 50:89-100.

Bhave G, Zhu W, Wang H, Braser DJ, Oxford GS and Gereau RW (2002) cAMP-dependent protein kinase regulates desensitization of the capsaicin receptor (VR1) by direct phosphorylation. Neuron 2002 35:721-31.

Last Updated: 8/6/2014 12:13:20 PM

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