Meet E-G-G Winner 2022: Roberta Gualdani
Research title: TRANSIENT RECEPTOR POTENTIAL CHANNELS AS NOVEL TARGETS FOR PRECISION MEDICINE IN PAIN
My research project involves looking for recurrent Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channel mutations in patients suffering from severe chronic pain, in order to understand whether there is a genetic predisposition to the development of the pain conditions, and to develop personalized therapies to normalize the activity of the mutant channels. My proposal will focus on the use of induced pluripotent stem cells-derived sensory neurons (IPSC-SNs) generated from the blood samples of patients affected by inherited painful neuropathies. IPSC-SNs provide a disease-in-a-dish model that can reproduce the electrical phenotypic profiles and pharmacological properties of sensory neurons carrying human TRP channel mutations. To functionally characterize IPSC-SNs I will use patch clamp recordings, Na+ and Ca2+ imaging experiments, and dynamic clamp experiments. The final goal of my proposal is to understand the pharmacological and biophysical properties of molecules involved in pain, and to develop a ‘precision medicine’ approach to pain.