Drs. Paulsen and Francois Win 2018 IASP Early Career Grants

May 3, 2018

Drs. Candice Paulsen, an assistant professor at Yale University (USA), and Amaury Francois, a research associate at Université de Montpellier (France), are the 2018 recipients of IASP Early Career Research Grants. The awards, valued at US$20,000 each, support development of outstanding young researchers starting their careers as independent investigators.    

Paulsen is an assistant professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry whose winning research proposal explores “Uncovering the regulation of TRPA1 by irritants and proteins.” Noting a lack of progress in developing new pain remedies beyond opiates and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, Paulsen will research how TRPA1—an important ion channel expressed in specialized sensory neurons—may serve as a bona fide target for the development of novel analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents. If developed, such innovations may reduce or eliminate treatment side effects and risks of addiction.

Francois, a research associate, will research a “Contribution of C-LTMRs and insular cortex to hedonic touch and the development of anxiety and depressive disorders associated with chronic pain.” Worldwide, 22 percent of primary care patients experience persistent pain and are four times more likely to have depression or anxiety than patients who are pain-free. Comorbid depression complicates the presentation, clinical course, and response to treatment of patients with chronic pain.

To provide better therapeutic strategies for chronic pain patients with psychologic distress, Francois will focus on elucidating the neuronal network engaged by pleasant touch and how it is diverted in chronic pain states to contribute to pain perception and the settling of depressive states.

A complete list of Early Career Research Grant Award Winners appears here.