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Interactive Pain Lecture Series

Interactive Pain Lecture Series – Educational series for NIH IRTA trainees

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The goal of this educational lecture series is to provide an overview of pain as a pathophysiological phenomenon from transduction and transcription, to transmission and modulation, to psychosocial experience and coping with pain that translates into behavior, and all the physiology and phenomenology in between. This lecture series will provide a foundation for participants in the Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) program to learn basic concepts and facts about pain in its full dynamic complexity and translatability across its multiple domains, from physiology to behavior and from research to clinic.

The intended primary audience for this series is National Institutes of Health (NIH) postbacs, postdocs, and other students and fellows (graduate and medical students, summer students, etc.) in the IRTA program. However, all NIH intramural staff are invited to attend, as many topics are likely to be of interest to intramural clinicians. 

This series consists of 18 1-hour sessions. Lectures will take place on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, during the spring and fall. Each session will be a hybrid of in-person participation on the NIH campus and online remote participation. An outline of the session’s presentation will be made available to the registered audience at the beginning of the week the presentation will take place.

Each 20- to 25-minute session will consist of a presentation made by one or two presenters, covering curriculum topics. A panel discussion and Q&A from the audience will follow the presentation. Volunteer postbacs will introduce the topics, presenters, and discussants, as well as moderate the discussions. Those attending in person as well as those attending remotely will be invited to participate. 

Contact Dr. Misha Backonja at misha.backonja@nih.gov for more information. 

2023 Sessions/Topics

  • February 8   
    • Why study pain? 
    • Definitions of pain; biological significance of pain; nociceptive, nociplastic, and neuropathic pain
  • February 22  
    • Overall anatomy and physiology of pain across organ systems—neural basis and contribution of other organ systems 
  • March 8 
    • Peripheral mechanisms: transduction of injury and noxious stimulation, transmission, excitability, and sensitization
  • March 22   
    • Central transmission, central sensitization, and dorsal horn circuits
  • April 12  
    • Central modulation and descending control 
  • April 26   
    • Pain perception and coping with pain  
  • May 10  
    • Affective, cognitive, behavioral, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of pain
  • May 24  
    • Pain measurement and assessment in humans
  • June 14  
    • Pain measurement and assessment in animals, including chronic pain models 
  • June 28  
    • Animal models of pain and human models of pain

Session Descriptions

February 8, 2023, 3–4 p.m. ET

Why study pain? 

Definitions of pain; biological significance of pain; nociceptive, nociplastic, and neuropathic pain 

In the first part of this session participants in this session will present critical reasons why it is important to learn about pain, conduct research about pain, and present pain in a way that would be accessible to NIH IRTA participants. During the second half of this session, we will review definitions of pain and a few major categories of pain.

 

February 22, 2023, 3–4 p.m. ET

Overall anatomy and physiology of pain across organ systems—neural basis and contribution of other organ systems 

Pain is a complex biological phenomenon subserved primarily by the nervous system, from peripheral nerve receptors to cortical neurons and other peripheral nervous system and central nervous system structures, which interact along the way. This session will review the general organization of the nociceptive system that underlies the experience of pain as well as the contribution of other systems, such as the immune system.