Department of Physiology and Cell Biology

Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology

College of Medicine
Department of Physiology and Cell Biology

421 Hamilton Hall
1645 Neil Ave.
Columbus, OH  43210-1218
614-292-4706
Robert.Stephens@osumc.edu

Research Lab Goals: The control and management of chronic pain remains a formidable therapeutic challenge. Chronic pain conditions are estimated to affect 30% of the population in industrialized countries. There is a wide therapeutic gap between treatment of chronic pain with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents and opiate drugs with their many untoward effects. Clearly, a coordination of sensory, spinal and supraspinal systems regulate nociceptive pathways, but our understanding of the integration of these systems participating in chronic pain pathways is quite incomplete.
 
Current Research: Current projects include the study of the neurobiology of chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and related algesic disorders with a CNS component (irritable bowel syndrome, non-ulcer dyspepsia, non-cardiac chest pain). Visceral pain is a present focus of the laboratory, utilizing transgenic murine models to investigate the role of pro-oxidant species and glutamate transporter dysfunction in mediating algesia.

Their focus is on mechanisms responsible for derangements in spinal glutamatergic neurotransmission in animal pain models. They are actively addressing the mechanism of altered function of glutamate transporters to augment or mitigate pain. Their most recent NIH-funded proposal examines a novel transgenic mouse model that is dramatically less responsive to visceral pain. They are also pursuing translational approaches supported by the Ohio State Center for Clinical and Translational Science to augment glutamate uptake in pain-transmitting pathways as a strategy to mitigate chronic pain.
 
Research Techniques:
• Behavioral and biochemical neuropharmacology
• Stereotaxic placement, brain
• Hindbrain microinjection
• HPLC systems-biogenic amines, microdialysis
• In vitro systems
• Rodent models of algesic measurement, in vivo voltammetry, glutamate

PubMed articles

Education:
PhD: Pharmacology, The Ohio State University

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