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PRF Seminar – Mapping and Modulating Myeloid Cells in a Model of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

16 June 2020

PRF Webinars


Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a series of weekly PRF seminars to help keep the pain research community connected during the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide all members of our community with virtual educational opportunities. The seminar series is supporter by the Center for Advanced Pain Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, US, and this particular seminar is also supported by Cellectricon. We thank both for their generous support.


The IASP Pain Research Forum hosted a seminar with Vivianne Tawfik, MD, PhD, Stanford University, US, on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. A Q&A session moderated by Claudia Sommer, MD, University of Würzburg, Germany, followed the presentation.

  • Vivianne Tawfik, Stanford University, US
  • Claudia Sommer, University of Würzburg, Germany




A recording of this seminar will soon be freely available to IASP members at the IASP Pain Education Resource Center (PERC).


Here is an abstract from Dr. Tawfik


Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a type of chronic intractable pain affecting the extremities that exhibits a clear acute-to-chronic transition. In nerve injury models of pain, Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), expressed by myeloid lineage cells, astrocytes, and neurons, is suggested to mediate the transition to a persistent pain state in a sex-dependent manner, contributing only to chronic pain in males. Although the sensation of pain is primarily mediated by neurons, central glial activation is strongly involved in the initiation and maintenance of chronic pain. Evidence was presented, using a clinically informed basic science approach, on how microglia contribute to CRPS and how this regulation may not be sex-specific but rather time-dependent.


About the presenter

Vivianne Tawfik, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor at Stanford University with a clinical practice focused on the treatment of complex chronic pain disorders including chronic postoperative pain, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and peripheral nerve injury. The Tawfik Lab uses clinically informed basic science approaches to investigate the mechanisms of CRPS and other forms of persistent pain. She obtained her MD and her PhD in neuroscience, with a focus on basic pain mechanisms, at Dartmouth Medical School. She then completed an anesthesiology residency at Stanford in the Fellowship in Anesthesia Research and Medicine (FARM) program, of which she now serves as the director. After pursuing subspecialty fellowship training in pain medicine and two research postdoctoral fellowships, Dr. Tawfik joined the faculty at Stanford University. She was the recipient of the Rita Allen Foundation Award in Pain in 2019.


About the moderator

Claudia Sommer, MD, is a professor of neurology at the University of Würzburg, Germany. She received training in psychiatry, neuropathology, experimental anesthesia, and neurology. She is president elect of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). At the University of Würzburg, she serves as a consultant in neurology, organizes an outpatient clinic for patients with pain, and leads the Peripheral Nerve Laboratory. With her research group, she investigates the role of immune mediators in the pathophysiology of pain, the improvement and standardization of diagnostics in neuropathies, and the pathophysiology of antibody-mediated diseases. Dr. Sommer is active in the development of national and international guidelines on treatment of peripheral neuropathies, on nerve and skin biopsies, and on treatment of fibromyalgia and neuropathic and facial pain.


Join the conversation about the seminar on Twitter @PainResForum #PRFSeminar


We thank the Center for Advanced Pain Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, US, and Cellectricon, Mölndal, Sweden, for their support of this seminar.


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