Tamara King receives fellowship for research in Brazil on trigeminal neuropathic pain

July 24, 2014

Tamara King

Tamara King, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical sciences, received a Special Visiting Researcher Fellowship sponsored by the Science Program Without Borders. 

As a visiting research fellow, King will visit Brazil four times over the next two years to collaborate with Dr. Juliana Geremias Chichorro, professor and chair of Biological Sciences in the Department of Pharmacology, Universidade Federal do Parana (UFPR). Their collaborative project is titled “Evaluation of the role of descending projections from the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) to maintain trigeminal neuropathic pain.”

This collaborative effort focuses on gaining a better understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie trigeminal neuralgia (TN), a form of neuropathic pain characterized by severe lancinating pain in orofacial regions innervated by the trigeminal nerve.  Current medications for TN patients are associated with adverse side effects and are ineffective in some cases.

The grant will explore how changes in central processing of pain signals that are implicated in chronic pain states may contribute to nerve-injury induced facial pain. Such studies will serve to increase understanding of the neurobiology underlying this pain state and aid in the development of improved therapies for these patients. 

King receives this fellowship for her innovative approaches to studying pain and pain relief.  As further testament to her success as a pain researcher, she was invited to deliver the final presentation, titled “Perspectives in the treatment of pain,” at a pain symposium that she attended during her first visit to Brazil in May.  In addition, she was invited to be a member of a panel that discussed perspectives on the treatment of pain at the end of the event.