Thomas J. Martin, PhD
Professor of Anesthesiology and Physiology & Pharmacology
Principal Investigator, Neurobehavioral Lab
The Neurobehavioral Lab component of the Pain Mechanisms Lab studies the neurobiology and pharmacology of complex behaviors in laboratory animal models of pain and drug addiction. We use a variety of behavioral assays in rodents typical of many laboratories that investigate pain mechanisms, however our specialty is in adapting drug self-administration and other operant techniques to study aspects of pain that cannot be modeled with simple reflexive assays of nociception. We have developed both systemic and spinal drug self-administration protocols to study the impact that chronic pain has on drug-seeking behavior, and in turn study how altered sensory input from injured nerves alters the pharmacology and neurobiology of analgesics using both in vivo and in vitro methods. We have also developed protocols to study the impact of acute post-operative pain on motivated and spontaneous behaviors in rodents for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to minimize morbidity following surgery.
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