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Professor Max Headley

Current research covers both the general physiological processes of sensitisation that may underlie enhanced states of pain, and more specifically the neurotransmitters and their receptors that are involved in these processes.

The main emphasis is on the processes that occur in the spinal cord, the first relay and an important site for gating sensory information arriving in the central nervous system. We use mainly electrophysiological and behavioural techniques in vivo and have a particular interest in excitatory amino acid receptors. Of these, NMDA receptors are well known to mediate sensitization, but the complexity of this receptor site indicates that novel therapeutic targets with fewer side effects may yet be developed, acting either centrally or in the periphery. We also have interests in amines, opioids, neuropeptides and other mediators that may be involved in spinal sensitization and that may therefore be targets for the developments of novel analgesic agents. To this end we work closely with the pharmacuetical industry, where the importance of translating animal models to humans is also an interest.

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