Seminar Speaker: Donna Hammond, Ph.D., Professor of Anasthesia, Professor of Pharmacology, University of Iowa
Dr. Hammond's program focuses on gaining a better understanding of the neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neuropharmacology of the central nervous system pathways that convey pain, as well as the bulbospinal pathways that modulate the transmission of nociceptive information. Her studies emphasize a systems-level approach that uses many different methodologies in concert, including behavioral pharmacology in normal, transgenic or knockout animals, neuroanatomical tract tracing, immunocytochemical labeling of neurons, measurement of neurotransmitter release by push-pull perfusion or microdialysis, and electrophysiological recordings from neurons in slices of the spinal cord or brainstem. Her work has been specifically understanding the role inhibitory neurotransmitters, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or the endogenous opioid peptides, play in the modulation of nociceptive sensitivity at the level of the spinal cord and brainstem. Findings from your her work indicate that persistent pain can lead to long-term changes in the pharmacology and physiology of both the afferent pathways that convey pain, as well as the efferent pathways that suppress pain. These changes have significant consequences for the ability of drugs to produce analgesia and for the body to invoke its own homeostatic mechanisms for the control of pain.
Dr. Hammond is a biomedical mentor in the BBIP program as well as member fo the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience, the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience, and the Medical Scientst Training Program. She will present to the group about her research and work ongoing in her lab as well as discuss her own training experiences and thoughts on training the next generation of behavioral-biomedical scientists.