Seminar – Robert W. Gereau IV, Ph.D.

Event Date & Time

January 27, 2021 at 12 Noon


Zoom - Virtual Seminar

Event Details:



Co-Sponsored by

The Pain/Immunology Cluster of School of Dentistry

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

12:00pm – Zoom Presentation

Robert W. Gereau IV, Ph.D.

Department of Anesthesiology

Washington University School of Medicine

St. Louis, Missouri

will present:

Optogenetic tools for the study and treatment of pain

About the presentation:

Chronic pain is debilitating and has immense personal and societal costs. Despite decades of research seeking to develop new treatments for chronic pain, little progress has been made. Peripheral nerve blocks provide temporary relief in patients with a wide variety of chronic pain conditions. Unfortunately, these nerve blocks are not an option for treating chronic pain over long periods of time. The Gereau lab has been developing experimental approaches enabling nonpharmacologic treatment of chronic pain conditions using optogenetics. This presentation describes a series of studies including the development of wireless micro-scale optoelectronic devices and gene therapy approaches enabling optogenetic silencing of activity in pain pathways for the treatment of chronic pain. The opportunities and challenges for deploying these technologies for treatment of chronic pain in patients will also be discussed.

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About the Speaker(s)

Robert W. Gereau IV, Ph.D. Lab Information

Research Abstract
Over 100 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from chronic pain, but the treatments available to these patients are few and their use is limited by severe side effects of these medications. Unfortunately for these individuals, little progress has been made in the development of new types of medications to treat chronic pain.

In our lab, we utilize a combination of behavioral studies, patch clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics, in vivo imaging, molecular and genetic approaches to understand the signaling pathways involved in nervous system plasticity that underlies pain sensitization. Our mission is to identify novel approaches to reverse this maladaptive plasticity to provide new therapeutic strategies to reduce pain and its impact on patient quality of life.

Work in the lab also includes clinical science aimed at translating findings from the lab into new or improved therapies for patients with pain. These studies include comparative studies of human physiology to preclinical models, as well as healthy human volunteer studies aimed at establishing proof of concept for novel analgesic therapies based on findings from the laboratory.