UW News

November 4, 2004

Lecture inaugurates endowed chair in pain research

Dr. Allan Basbaum, professor and chair of the Department of Anatomy at the University of California at San Francisco, will give the first Allan and Phyllis Treuer Lecture in Pain Research on Thursday, Nov. 18. He will speak on “The Neurobiology of Pain: From Molecules to Circuits” at 2:30 p.m. in room T-733 of the Health Sciences Center. This lecture inaugurates the Treuer Chair in Pain Research in the Department of Pharmacology.

Basbaum is an international leader in pain research, focusing on the neurobiological basis of pain and its control.  He studies the actions of neurotransmitter molecules used by the sensory neurons to transmit pain stimuli into the central nervous system and the processing of pain information by nerve cells in the spinal cord. 

 He has discovered several important new aspects of the changes that occur in nerve cells, and in the neurotransmitters that they use to signal pain stimuli, during the development of chronic pain in mouse models of injury.  His research combines high-resolution microscopy, molecular biology, molecular pharmacology, and behavioral testing in a coordinated way to learn about pain mechanisms and the effects of drug treatments at the molecular, cellular, and whole-animal levels.

Basbaum is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal and received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972.  After postdoctoral research at University College London, he joined the University of California at San Francisco as a senior postdoctoral fellow, was appointed assistant professor in 1977 and assumed his present position in 1997.  He is editor-in-chief of the journal Pain, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Pain Research.