The Johns laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms that underlie the onset and maintenance of chronic pain, particularly neuropathic pain. This research has helped to elucidate a vast network of molecules at neuronal synapses, particularly the post-synaptic density (PSD), that are critical for pain signal propagation. Within the PSD, the Johns group focuses on small molecular scaffolding proteins, such as PSD-95 and PSD-93, that help to regulate trafficking of receptors (e.g., NMDA, AMPA). Importantly, these scaffolding proteins link these receptors to their downstream signaling pathways that include enzymes such as NO synthase (NOS), guanylyl cyclase, and protein kinase G. This work includes the development of new analgesics to interfere with the PSD protein interactions in the hopes of providing relief for those who suffer from debilitating chronic pain.
*Now affiliated with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Part of The Investigator's Annexe program.