Congratulations to Kyle M. Baumbauer, PhD, who has received the 2017 Award in Pain from the Rita Allen Foundation and the American Pain Society for his grant application, Targeting ASIC3 for disruption of nociceptor sensitization following spinal cord injury. Dr. Baumbauer is an Assistant Professor with a dual appointment in the UConn School of Nursing and Department of Neuroscience. The Rita Allen Award in Pain is a prestigious national award given to early career scientists in the field of pain research. Dr. Baumbauer’s project was chosen for three years of funding and a total of $150,000. The award letter noted that the competition this year was particularly intense. Dr. Baumbauer will be recognized at the upcoming American Pain Society Annual Meeting President’s Reception in Pittsburgh, PA on Thursday, May 18, at 7:00 p.m.
His project is focused on examining a novel role for Acid Sensing Ion Channel Subunit 3 (ASIC3) in the initiation and maintenance of nociceptor sensitization following spinal cord injury (SCI). The project capitalizes on the unique skills of his team, as one of the few in the country that can perform analysis of gene expression and electrophysiologically characterized nociceptors. Dr. Baumbauer’s laboratory is also one of few that examines the role of peripheral nociceptive neurons in the generation of pain following SCI. The proposed work is critical for our understanding of the nature of pain following spinal cord injury, in particular, and central nervous system insult, in general. With respect to SCI, the identification of a specific gene that can be targeted at the time of SCI would be a groundbreaking discovery that could revolutionize care for the spinally injured, as well as patient quality of life.