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E-G-G 2023: Get to know the winning pain scientists and research projects
Chronic pain is a frequent condition, affecting an estimated 20% of people worldwide1. Those people need new and more effective treatments that relieve pain – to open up pathways to a fuller, freer and more normal life. As a global leader in innovation for pain therapies, Grünenthal is committed to empowering and enabling young scientists who are conducting research in this field.
Since 2004, we have partnered with the European Pain Federation EFIC® to provide grants of up to €50,000 for early-career researchers who are exploring novel ideas for pain research. The winning projects are selected by an independent and multidisciplinary jury of pain experts. This year’s three winners of the EFIC-Grünenthal-Grant (E-G-G) were announced in June 2023.
Scientist: Eleonora Maria Camerone (Italy)
Project: Unveiling the Impact of Expectations on Chronic Pain: An Ecological Momentary Assessment Study
Advances in computational pain research have shown that pain perception is influenced by both the magnitude and precision of expectations. Our project tests this model on chronic musculoskeletal pain patients. We use real-time assessments to investigate the temporal dynamics between momentary expectation (magnitude and precision) and pain perception. We expect that the interaction between the expectation and its level of precision will enable us to predict the pain intensity. If successful, this model for identifying pain fluctuations would facilitate precision medicine and enable individualised, timely strategies to break the feedback loop that maintains chronic pain.
Scientist: Lieve Filbrich (Belgium)
Project: Multisensory Interactions in Pain: Uncovering Their Effect on the Motor System
Recent studies have shown that pain and nociceptive perception can be highly influenced by interactions with non-somatic stimuli, and vice versa. Our project aims to examine the potential functional role of multisensory perceptual effects in pain. It will investigate their relationship with the motor system in surrogate models of persistent pain, while also seeking to characterise potential maladaptive processes in this relationship for chronic pain patients. Overall, this project aims to contribute to a mechanism-based understanding of motor difficulties in clinical pain.
Scientist: Sampurna Chakrabarti (Germany)
Project: Phenotype-Driven Neuro-Proteomics to Identify Clinically Relevant Pain Targets
There is a clear need for new analgesic targets that translate successfully from rodent to human clinical trials. Our project aims to utilise a novel cell and phenotype-resolved approach to delineate the proteomic profile for defined human sensory neuronal subsets from healthy people and patients with chronic pain. The global and quantitative protein catalogue generated will represent a first-of-its-kind resource for identifying novel targets for chronic pain conditions.
“The quality, diversity and originality of the proposals received for E-G-G 2023 hold promise for the future of pain research. Reviewing each proposal was scientifically stimulating.”