Neuropharmacology and molecular biology of neuropathic painNeuropharmacology of pain-relieving drugs in humansChronic pain is a major public health problem. Chronic, pathologic pain states affect one-fourth of the population. A significant number of patients with pain syndromes, particularly those with chronic, abnormal pains, continue to suffer despite attempts at treatment. The lack of effective clinical treatments results in a national loss of productivity, personal and family suffering, depression and suicide.Dr. Malan's laboratory focuses on the study of neuropathic pain, a particularly complex chronic pain resulting from injury or disease of nerves and a particularly difficult pain to treat. His lab uses an experimental model of neuropathic pain created by surgical ligation of the L5 and L6 spinal nerves in rats. They are currently conducting two lines of research: first, studying the effectiveness of cannabinoid receptor agonists in reversing the signs of neuropathic pain, and second, studying the expression and function of selected neurotransmitters in the spinal cord following nerve injury. This research focuses on neuropeptides postulated to be important in the creation and maintenance of the pain state, particularly the neuropeptide, dynorphin.Dr. Malan's work combines in vitro analytical and molecular techniques with in vivo measurements of pain sensitivity. Although his lab primarily focuses on the spinal nerve ligation model, when appropriate they also study patients with neuropathic pain syndromes.
MD: University of Massachusetts, 1985
PhD: Harvard University, 1981