Pain In Mice & Man: Ironic Adventures In Translation

By Jeffrey Mogil, Ph.D.

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Synopsis: Recent decades have seen an explosion in our understanding of the molecular and  cellular underpinnings of pain, but virtually none of this knowledge has resulted in new clinical therapies. The first part of the talk will explore the reasons for this lack of translation, including a mismatch between clinical characteristics and preclinical experimental design choices, species-specific gene expression, and emerging challenges in clinical trials. 

The second part of the talk will focus on recent studies in our laboratory concerning the modulation of pain by social factors.  One would imagine these would be even harder to translate into humans, but in this domain translation between mice and undergraduates has been surprisingly successful. 

These observations collectively challenge assumptions commonly made about the biopsychosocial model, and have important philosophical implications for animal research.