William Renthal, MD, PhD, Director of Research at the John R. Graham Headache Center at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, recently received a 2023 Rita Allen Foundation Award in Pain for his project “Targeted Gene Delivery to Trigeminal Nociceptors.” This three-year, $150,000 award supports early-career leaders in basic pain research whose work holds high potential for uncovering new pathways to improve the treatment of chronic pain.
With this support, Dr. Renthal will test new ideas and accelerate the development of novel tools used to selectively inhibit human nociceptors—nerve endings that detect damage to the body—which could provide fundamentally new ways to treat refractory pain.
Dr. Renthal’s lab studies the genomic and epigenomic mechanisms that contribute to conditions related to refractory headache and facial pain. This work aims to reveal molecular features that are unique to pain-related cells and circuits that could be used to develop novel strategies for pain therapeutics with fewer side effects.
“It’s a great honor to receive this award and real testament to the incredible team and environment we have here at the John R. Graham Headache Center at BWFH," he says.
In addition to his role as Director of Research at the John R. Graham Headache Center, Dr. Renthal is Co-Director of the Harvard PRECISION Pain Center, an NIH-funded network of pain clinicians and scientists who are leveraging advanced multi-omic technologies to characterize the specific cell types and states associated with pain using human samples. Together, this work aims to improve translation of basic research discoveries into safer treatments for patients with refractory headache or pain conditions.
The Rita Allen Foundation is a philanthropic organization that invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems.
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