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Summer School, June 2009 Photos from the London Pain Consortium Summer School, held 21st-26th June 2009 in El Escorial, Madrid, Spain.

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Chronic pain: the search for a killer

Researchers engaging with local communities

Researchersí discovery of why sunburn hurts reveals possible target for new pain relief drugs

New award funding of LPC

UK researchers tackle pain

Imperial College and the London Pain Consortium partner with a Japanese chemical company to fight chronic pain


Walking on Fire click here


London Pain Consortium: key Discoveries

Reserachers: Pain killers click here

Painstaking research - tackling chronic pain click here

The London Pain Consortium making a difference
Ph.D. Positions
Examples for typical rotation projects undertaken in previous years
Rotation 1
McMahon: Acid-induced pain and its modulation in humans
Hunt: Morphine tolerance in the NK1 knockout mouse
Wood: Construction of a loxP vector to be used in sodium channel beta3 subunit knock out
Wood: DRG cell phenotype and numbers in the conditional BDNF knockout
Koltzenburg: Excitability testing of peripheral nerves in vitro
McMahon: Characterisation of analgesic efficacy in a model of UVB-induced inflammation of the skin

Rotation 2
Rice: Behavioural models of gp120-associated pain
McMahon: Spinal cord mRNA expression levels and patterns following intrathecal NGF
Dickenson: Investigating the role of the NMDA receptor in lamina I neurones under neuropathy
Fitzgerald: Whole cell patch recording of identified lamina I cells in neonatal rat spinal cord slices
Dickenson: Long term potentiation in the dorsal horn
Orengo: Microarray analysis of spinal cord genes following a spared nerve injury

Rotation 3

Fitzgerald: Expression of Eph-A receptors in Neonatal DRG
Orengo: Microarray gene analysis of rat DRG in the spinal nerve ligation model of neuropathic pain
Koltzenburg: Assessment of amplifying RNA for microarray expression profiling
McMahon: Human psychophysical testing of UV burns
Hunt: Gene chip analysis of dorsal horn LTP
Dickenson: Cancer-induced bone pain; an in vivo electrophysiology study

Structure of the First Year of the 4 Year PhD

The first year has 3 main components, compulsory courses, optional courses and (occupying most of the time) three 3 month laboratory placements spent doing research and learning techniques.

Compulsory Courses

These consist of:

An Induction course introducing you to the College
A course on Current Techniques in Neuroscience
A Topics in Neuroscience course, structured like a journal club in which you present research papers
A Statistics course
A course on Library and Database Usage
An Electronics course
A course on the Ethics of Animal Experimentation
A Science Communication course (may also be taken in the 2nd year)

Optional Courses
These consist of:

Computing Courses on E-mail, Word Processing, Internet, Spreadsheets, Powerpoint, Visual Basic, and more advanced programming
A Mechanical Workshop course
A Further Statistics course
A Radiation Safety course
Orientation for Foreigners
English for Foreigners

The Laboratory Placements

Three of these are done, chosen from labs working in the broad areas of Molecular Neuroscience, Cellular Neuroscience, and Systems and Imaging Neuroscience. Students must choose 3 placements covering at least 2 of these broad areas (in order to avoid over-specialization in the first year). For example, students might do a placement in one lab which they think they might want to do their PhD research in, one in a similar lab for comparison, and one in a lab studying something quite different to gain experience in another area. Students doing these placements often publish papers on their work, or present it at scientific meetings.