Department of Cellular Physiology

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Averbeck, Beate

Nociception and Pain

beate_teaser10I have focused on primary nociceptive neurons, their electrophysiological and neurochemical responses to thermal and mechanical stimuli as well as chemical mediators. In projects at the University of Erlangen (1995-2007) and in pharmaceutical industry I used isolated cellular preparations, cultured dorsal root ganglion cells and transfected cell lines to study action potential discharge, calcium transients and release of substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide. The aim was to elucidate nociceptive transduction and possible pharmacological interventions focusing on G-protein coupled receptors as targets.

In a current project I am using immuno-histochemical analysis of Kv7 (KCNQ/ M) potassium channels in isolated human nerve preparations to study effects of the clinically used analgesic drug Flupirtine, an activator of Kv7 channels on the nerve excitability. In a human psychophysical study I am also analysing Thunberg’s grill illusion, a sensation of strong heat evoked from the skin by contact with spatially interlaced innocuous warm and cool stimuli. The aim is to better understand which peripheral axons contribute to the illusion and how they might be centrally coupled.

Stopped flow kinetic studies.

In a new project I will apply stopped flow kinetics to study interactions of various protein substrates and binding partners, including motor proteins, at high time resolution.