Northwestern Events Calendar


Central Circuits of Pain, Stress and Addiction - Frank Porreca, PhD

When: Friday, February 11, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Camila Bonin Pinto   (312) 503-6475

Group: Center for Translational Pain Research

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Frank Porreca, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology and Anesthesiology
University of Arizona - Tucson
Senior Consultant, Department of Collaborative Research
Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona

This lecture will focus on the contributions of brain opioid circuits in acute and chronic pain with relevance to mechanisms of opioid addiction. Data will be presented to show that the aversive qualities of pain promote motivation to seek relief that can be assessed through learned behaviors. The opposing role of endogenous opioids acting at mu and kappa opioid receptors in promoting positive and negative reinforcement in three main circuits relevant to both pain and addiction will be highlighted and potential therapeutic opportunities currently in development will be presented.     

Dr. Frank Porreca is Professor of Pharmacology and Anesthesiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.  He also holds an appointment as a Senior Consultant in the Department of Collaborative Research at Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona. 

He trained in Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University in Pharmacology at Temple University in Philadelphia. 

Dr. Porreca’s research focuses on understanding circuits and mechanisms promoting chronic pain and addiction.  He has explored the impact of pain on motivation and reward as a basis for enhancing translation. Several themes have been emphasized including (a) the role of descending modulatory circuits in chronic pain states; (b) the mechanisms by which opioids and stress engage these circuits and (c) the discovery of molecules that can modulate these circuits through novel mechanisms. His recent work has focused on sexually dimorphic mechanisms of pain. He has published more than 500 peer reviewed papers.

Dr. Porreca has been honored by the International Association for the Study of Pain with the Ronald Melzack Award, by the American Pain Society with the F.W. Kerr Award, the British Pain Society with the Patrick Wall Award, the Canadian Pain Society with the Mary Ellen Jeans Award and the Eastern Pain Society with the John J. Bonica Award.  He has served in Editorial roles for numerous journals and is the Founder and Scientific Director of the Spring Pain Research Conference and the Pain Mechanisms and Therapeutics Conference.  

He is also the Founder of Catalina Pharmaceuticals, an enterprise focused on the improvement of perioperative outcomes.

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