Ohannes Melemedjian, Ph.D.

About Ohannes Melemedjian.

Ohannes Melemedjian, PhDOhannes Melemedjian, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Neural and Pain Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, received his BSc at the Haigazian University in Beirut, Lebanon. He was introduced to pain research as a graduate student at the American University of Beirut, where he obtained his MSc degree. He received his PhD in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Arizona in Tucson under the mentorship of Frank Porreca and Josephine Lai, researching the adverse effects of opiates on bone cancer pain. He completed his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Theodore Price at the University of Arizona, where he developed initial work on the role of dysregulated protein synthesis in chronic pain states. Dr. Melemedjian is a recipient of the Future Leaders in Pain Research Award from the American Pain Society.

Pain Research in the Melemedjian Lab

Pain is an essential physiological response to injury. However, in certain individuals pain becomes chronic due to changes that occur in the nervous system. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain does not have a known physiological function. Moreover, it is estimated that one out of three people in the United States suffer from chronic pain. Unfortunately, available therapeutics do not provide adequate pain relief. This warrants a need for better understanding of the mechanisms that lead to the development and maintenance of chronic pain which may ultimately lead to novel treatment strategies.

Tissue injury is associated with the release of mediators that initiate wound healing and regeneration, which in turn is accompanied with the synthesis of novel lipids and proteins that are critical for the repair of damaged tissue. These changes require reprogramming of cellular bioenergetics and metabolism. Crucially, drugs and genetic mutations that alter cellular bioenergetics or metabolism lead to the development of chronic pain conditions. Our laboratory is interested in elucidating the mechanisms through which changes in cellular bioenergetics and metabolism promote and maintain chronic pain states. We use cellular, molecular, biochemical, behavioral, electrophysiological and computational approaches to better understand this debilitating disease.