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Ronald Dubner, PhD, DDS

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Organized Research Center on Persistent Pain | Contact Information |

    
Neural & Pain Sciences

ORGANIZED RESEARCH CENTER ON PERSISTENT PAIN

Mission

Dr. Dubner

The primary mission of the University of Maryland Organized Research Center (ORC) on Persistent Pain is to stimulate the study of chronic or persistent pain conditions of cutaneous and deep tissue origin. Dr. Ronald Dubner is the director of the ORC. A primary focus is on orofacial pain conditions and their comparison with similar pain conditions existing in other regions of the body. The program is diverse and spans the basic and clinical sciences and clinical management from molecular studies to clinical trial studies. A secondary mission is to transfer the research findings to health professionals and the public via outreach and demonstration projects in the community. Our working model is that research on pain has reached a level of understanding that facilitates the transfer of basic knowledge to the study of persistent pain in humans, and ultimately to new methods of diagnosing and treating these conditions in the general population.  Further advances require multidisciplinary collaborations among basic and clinical scientists and clinicians. A multidisciplinary Organized Research Center in the thematic area of persistent pain facilitates this collaboration and interaction and hopefully leads to improved management of persistent pain.

The Mission Statement of the center is: 

Research on pain has reached a level of understanding that facilitates the transfer of basic knowledge to the study of persistent pain in humans, and ultimately to new methods of diagnosing and treating these conditions in the general population. A multidisciplinary center in the thematic area of persistent pain facilitates collaboration among basic and clinical scientists and hopefully leads to improved management of persistent pain. The specific primary missions of the center are: 1) to foster and carry out innovative, multidisciplinary research on persistent pain and its management; 2) to train postdoctoral fellows and students in the basic and clinical sciences related to the understanding of pain mechanisms and the management of persistent pain conditions; and 3) to educate primary health practitioners regarding new knowledge about pain mechanisms and the management of acute and chronic pain conditions. 

Accomplishments

  1. Collaboration with scientists and clinicians at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. The ORC has fostered these collaborations that have led to external funding in the form of NIH Program Projects (P01s), Center grants (P20s) and numerous R01 grants.
  2. Quarterly workshops on ongoing and new research that involve interactions between UM and JHU faculty and fellows.  
  3. The ORC has facilitated the development of translational research programs on pain that include the transfer of basic research findings from the bench to the bedside. The ORC has also facilitated the development of clinical research programs at UM, including participation in a multicenter NIH grant on longitudinal studies of genetic, behavioral and pharmacological markers of risk factors associated with TMD.  
  4. The ORC has fostered the training of postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in the study of pain. This includes providing funding to support pilot grants that lead to NIH funding. The list below indicates some recipients of these awards in the past:
  • June, 1998 – Dr. Michael Gold - $6,630 to support pilot project on headache and trigeminal sensory neurons.
  • June, 1998  - Dr. Joel Greenspan - $13,350 to support pilot project on localization of somatosensory processing.
  • February, 2004 - Dr. Jin Ro - $10,000 to support pilot project on peripheral opioid receptor mechanisms in craniofacial deep tissue pain
  • November, 2007 – Dr. Sharon Gordon - $15,000 for one year to support pilot project on mucositis as a major side effect of chemotherapy agents used in cancer treatment
  • November, 2007 – Dr. Radi Masri - $20,000 for one year to support pilot project on thalamic mechanisms of central pain
  • November, 2008 – Dr. Man-Kyo Chung - $20,000 for one year to support pilot project on the role of the cold-gated ion channel TRPM8 in dental pain

All of these investigators have gone on to be very successful research scientists and have considerable NIH support.