How do we perceive objects and events? How does the brain optimize our ability to detect and discriminate? How do we volitionally control our sensations, and what goes awry when this ability is impaired and our perceptions are altered?
To address these questions we study neurobiological mechanisms that control the perceptions of touch and pain, and how experiences such as chronic pain and drug use affect these mechanisms. These investigations allow us to better understand the neurobiology of perception, and to develop therapies for chronic pain and drug misuse conditions.
In our new paper, Liv Uddin and collaborators in our lab show that parabrachial neurons receive direct inputs from trigeminal ganglion neurons that innervate the dura. These surprising connections might be involved in migraine headaches.
And another new paper, Perinatal fentanyl exposure leads to long-lasting impairments in somatosensory circuit function and behavior.
And yet one more: Control of synaptic transmission and neuronal excitability in the parabrachial nucleus.