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SCSB Colloquium: Understanding and conquering pain [Clifford Woolf, M.B., B.Ch., Ph.D.,]

April 24 | 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Date: Wednesday, April 24,  2024
Location: 46-3002 (Singleton Auditorium). Please note this event will take place in person only

Speaker: Clifford Woolf, M.B., B.Ch., Ph.D.

Affiliation: Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology/Director of FM Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Talk title: Understanding and conquering pain
Abstract: Pain is one of the major challenges of contemporary medicine in terms of its high incidence, persistence in many patients, and the poor efficacy and adverse effects of most analgesics, as well as the contribution of prescription opioids to the opioid crisis. I would like to share our approach to studying the mechanisms of physiological and pathological pain both in preclinical rodent models using chronic nociceptive circuit recordings and a machine-learning based interrogation of pain-related behavior, and by studying human pain in a dish with iPSC-derived neurons, as well as a platform we have put together for identifying novel analgesics without an abuse liability.

Bio: Dr. Clifford J. Woolf was born in South Africa, where he earned his MB, BCh, and Ph.D. degrees. He then moved to London and became Professor of Neurobiology at University College London. In 1997 he was recruited by the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School to serve as the Richard J. Kitz Professor of Anesthesiology Research and director of the Neural Plasticity Research Group. In 2010 he was named director of the F. M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and became Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology at HMS. He is faculty both in the department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and in the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. In 2022 he was appointed the Blackfan-Diamond Chair of Neuroscience Research at Boston Children’s. In 2020 Dr. Woolf was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was awarded a Doctoris Honoris Causa from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, he received a Gill Distinguished Scientist award and the Reeve-Irvine medal in 2017, and in 2015, the Kerr award from the American Pain Society. He has published over 320 research papers on molecular, cellular, and systems neurobiology and has 35 issued patents. He has an h-index of 166 and 124,000 citations. His research is devoted to investigating how the functional, chemical, and structural plasticity of neurons is involved in both the normal adaptive functions of the nervous system and in maladaptive changes that contribute to neurological diseases, with a particular focus on pain, regeneration, and neurodegeneration and on the exploitation of stem cell derived neurons to model disease and for drug screening. Dr. Woolf has founded several companies and is a consultant and SAB member for several pharmaceutical and biotech companies.


April 24
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Singleton Auditorium, Bldg. 46, Room 3002
43 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States
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