Prof. Dr. Tim Hucho
Pain thresholds of peripheral sensory "pain neurons", so-called nociceptors, are highly variable. They can be reduced by inflammatory mediators or growth factors to such an extent that the body's own stimuli such as blood pressure or body temperature are sufficient to trigger a pain stimulus. While many threshold modulating extracellular substances are known, intracellular signal processing still needs to be investigated. This research is challenging as adult nociceptive neurons are hardly transfectable, can only be obtained in small numbers from animals and human cells are hardly accessible. My research group has developed a high content screening microscopy approach that enables the analysis of thousands of neurons on the single cell level. We apply this approach to the analysis of intracellular signalling networks in human iPS cells derived nociceptive neurons as a model system of human pain mechanisms.