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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

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UK researchers tackle pain

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

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The London Pain Consortium making a difference
Europain consortium receives EU and industry funding and begins five year research into better treatments for chronic pain Europain, a public-private consortium funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), announced today the launch of a five-year research project to understand and improve treatment of chronic pain. The project will receive 6M€ from the IMI as well as 12.5M€ in kind contribution from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) over the coming five years.

One in five adults suffers from chronic pain. This constitutes a major cause of long-term sick leave and forced early retirement, placing a great financial burden on both individuals and healthcare systems. Despite extensive research programmes by biopharmaceutical companies and academia, there remains a need for treatments that are more effective and with fewer side-effects.

Europain has established an international team of leading researchers and clinicians from both academia and industry to undertake multidisciplinary translational research. This team aims to increase the understanding of chronic pain mechanisms, help to develop novel analgesics, and develop better biomarkers for pain. Their ultimate goal is to improve the lives of people suffering from chronic pain.

During the five-year project, Europain will undertake a large number of preclinical and clinical studies. The program will be delivered through collaboration between laboratories in the Europain network, sharing resources to improve the value derived from the budget. Results will be made public during and after the project, ensuring that the knowledge created can be widely applied to the development of better therapies for patients suffering from chronic pain.

King’s College London, the managing entity of Europain and the academic lead institution will contribute to both the pre-clinical and clinical aspects of the project. One role will be to study the expression of potential pain mediators in both animal models of pain and samples from patients suffering from chronic pain. The role of novel pain mediators will then be investigated using an array of techniques ranging from cell culture to quantitative sensory testing in humans.

Professor Steve McMahon, who along with Dr Dave Bennett will be running the project at King’s, comments: ‘There are some big questions facing the pain field at the moment and this consortium, drawing on the skills and expertise of both academia and industry, is in a unique position to address them’.

The consortium network involves scientists representing 12 renowned European Universities: King’s College London (Academic lead), University College London, Imperial College London, the University of Oxford, the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, the Medical Faculty Mannheim/Heidelberg University, the Technische Universität München, the Goethe University of Frankfurt, the BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil/Ruhr University Bochum, the University Hospitals of Aarhus, Rigshospitalet Copenhagen, University of Southern Denmark, the SME Neuroscience Technologies from Barcelona, and the research resources and expertise of Europe’s most active pharmaceutical companies working in the field of analgesics, including AstraZeneca (co-ordinator), Boehringer-Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Esteve, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis, UCB Pharma.

About the Innovative Medicines Initiative

IMI is a unique Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the pharmaceutical industry represented by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the European Union represented by the European Commission.
www.imi.europa.eu.
 
Ph.D. Positions
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Outstanding PhD research opportunities in the London Pain Consortium
The London Pain Consortium offers unrivalled opportunities for PhD research in all aspects of pain. Specimen PhD projects range from the molecular biology of neuronal proteins, through cellular and systems neuroscience, to the behaviour of sensory and pain systems and brain imaging. The supervisors are among the leaders of their fields, using the most modern techniques to address important problems of basic and clinical pain neuroscience. Research labs are well funded, so that PhD students have the best chance of getting off to a productive start in their research.

PhD students joining the consortium will work in a lively and productive research setting and learn the importance of studying the integrated neural function as well as relevant methods of molecular and cell biology. They will develop both practical and theoretical skills within integrated neuroscience in the pursuit of better understanding pain, and also be equipped to exploit future advances in other areas of neurobiological research.



4-year PhD studentships
Join the London Pain Consortium's vibrant community of over 20 postgraduate and post doctoral scientists on their well established PhD Programme in Pain Research.

We currently do not have any PhD studentships available.

The Programme

Year one involves a number of neurobiology and bioinformatics courses and the completion of three rotation projects, where a wide range of neuroscience techniques will be learnt. Students then choose a full research project in pain and a supervisor for the subsequent three years from the Consortium and associated laboratories.

All PhD projects involve collaborations between at least two internationally competitive and well-funded laboratories, with topics covering the whole range of neurosciences related to pain mechanisms and their control: molecular biology, cellular mechanisms, intergrated systmes neuroscience and human neurophysiology.

The emphasis of the programme is to integrate these four approaches so the students are equipped to underake cutting edge research that can be translated into a better understanding and treatment of acute and chronic pain.

Further details on structure

There are two Wellcome funded PhD studentships available, with one earmarked for Computational Biology, available in the group of Professor Christine Orengo at UCL.
There are also potential Univeristy funded studentships. more details

All applications will be considered for both schemes.

To apply

FAQs



3-year MB/PhD studentships
Funding is available for an MB/PhD placement within the well established training programme of the London Pain Consortium to start in Autumn 2012. These studentships are particularly suited to medical students contemplating a career in academic medicine related to relevant specialties including neurology, neurosurgery, anaesthetics, pain medicine, rheumatology and palliative medicine.

Students at any of these institutions can apply for the MB PhD and undertake a PhD with any of the Principal Investigators within the LPC. Topics covered are wide including molecular biology, systems neuroscience and human genetics and imaging studies. Funding includes a stipend for the student and home/EU fees levied by the relevant university. Non UK/EU residents will only have their fees paid at the EU rate and will need to identify funding for the remaining fees. If you would like to discuss this position further and consider application please contact either: david.bennett@kcl.ac.uk or Stephen.mcmahon@kcl.ac.uk.

To apply

We currently do not have any PhD studentships available.




Why do a PhD in pain research?
In the past two decades pain has become one of the most exciting fields of nervous system research. Pain is required for maintaining the integrity and survival of the organism but sustained or chronic pain can result in secondary symptoms such as anxiety and depression and can dramatically decrease quality of life. CNS areas that are activated by pain-producing stimuli show remarkable plasticity. Noxious stimulation always results in changes in gene expression within the central nervous system and different chronic pain states generate unique neurochemical and pharmacological signatures in the brain. New insights into how sensory information is centrally processed in the face of a constantly changing molecular architecture will fundamentally change the way we approach pain control and develop new analgesics. Pain is also a model system for many fundamental questions in neurobiology, such as specification of cellular phenotype, formation of appropriate connections, maintenance of stability in normal function, mechanisms underlying plasticity, and the processes leading to disintegration of normal function during aging and disease.
The recent rapid progress in pain research has been driven by molecular and cell biology. These techniques continue to identify genes potentially important in pain processing, and have stimulated the search for novel analgesic drugs as well as promoting understanding of a number of general neurobiological phenomena, such as activity-dependent plasticity. Yet the function of these genes often remains poorly understood, even though there is now a wide range of transgenic mice which allow examination of particular gene function in the whole animals. The challenge for the future is to combine cellular and molecular advances with physiological and pharmacological techniques to understand the integrated functioning of the nervous system related to the clinical problem of pain.