Dr Ryan Patel from the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases has been awarded the Professor Anthony Mellows Medal/King’s Prize Fellowship. This award supports his research on the neural circuits that determine affective behaviour and endogenous pain modulation. Dr Patel is one of two recipients this year, following in the footsteps of a cohort of successful recipients.
Dr Patel’s fellowship will focus on the interaction between chronic pain and mood disorders on a circuitry level with a long-term goal of optimising therapeutic targeting. He aims to identify the specific populations of neurons working together to control behavioural changes/adaptation to unpleasantness/pain in pre-clinical pain models. He wants to also determine how these circuits interact with other circuits that control pain transmission.
Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for more than three months and can appear with or without known underlying conditions. Affecting up to twenty per cent of the UK population, the underlying mechanisms are only partially understood as it is believed to involve multiple changes at the molecular, biological and psychological levels.
Treatment of chronic pain can be further complicated by the development of comorbidities - additional conditions - such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. The combination of pain and depression is more disabling than individual conditions and leads to poorer treatment outcomes for both analgesics and anti-depressants.
Dr Patel’s study develops from his work in the Bannister Group where he seeks to address translational issues in pain research. By assessing the mechanisms of pain amplification and inhibition, and how the two interact, the group has shown that electrophysiological readouts can provide mechanistic insights into sensory phenomena. Understanding individual differences in pain experiences will lead to much-needed personalised medicine.
It’s an absolute privilege to be awarded the Prof Anthony Mellows Medal/King’s Prize Fellowship. I am still at a loss for words! With this opportunity, I hope to begin building an inclusive and collaborative research programme. I am passionate about exploring the relationship between pain and co-morbid mood disorders with an overall aim to bridge the gap between understanding pain neurobiology and clinical application.”– Dr Ryan Patel
The Professor Anthony Mellows Medal and Fellowship is awarded annually to an outstanding post-doctoral scientist. The award aims to support the Fellow’s transition to become an independent researcher and to become a leader in their field. The award is supported by The Anthony and Elizabeth Mellows Charitable Settlement, in association with King’s College London, in the hope that it will extend the frontiers of research in the health sciences.