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DEFINING CIRCUITS OF ENDOGENOUS PAIN MODULATION
IN HEALTH AND DISEASE

King's College London

Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases

ABOUT US

Bridging the gap

between bench

and bedside

Our work encompasses both basic science and clinical research with an aim to improve the translatability of pain neurobiology to clinical application.

 
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RESEARCH

Our projects

We are interested in understanding the transmission and control of pain and how neuronal systems alter in pathophysiological states. To explore our interests we conduct exploratory experiments that seek to molecularly, anatomically  and functionally define descending modulatory pathways in health and chronicity and our subjects range from animals to healthy volunteers to patient populations including those with Parkinson's, IBS/IBD and inflammatory arthritis.    

 

In particular, our back and forward translational studies seek to address 'translational research issues' including: 

1) invalid targets,

2) limitations of currently used methods to assess nociception/pain, 

3) inappropriate patient populations for mechanisms studied 

 

We address these issues by:

1) Defining circuitry in health and pinpointing dysfunction in disease,

2) Backward translating paradigms used to assess pain in humans to the bench,

3) Stratifying patients into appropriate cohorts

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DEFINING DESCENDING MODULATORY PATHWAYS THAT REGULATE SPINAL NOCICEPTIVE PROCESSING

Academy of Medical Sciences 2019-2022, £100k

With the use of optogenetics and in vivo electrophysiology, we are investigating the noradrenergic mid-brain origin nucleus for mediating DNIC.

DEFINING DESCENDING INHIBITORY PATHWAY FUNCTIONALITY IN HEALTH AND DISEASE

MRC 2022-2025, £620k

With the use of optogenetics, chemogenetics, behavioural testing and in vivo electrophysiology, we are investigating the disease stage-specific interplay between noradrenergic nuclei in a model of cancer-induced bone pain and the impact on DNIC functionality.

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FOREBRAIN MODULATION OF BRAINSTEM PROCESSING

Ono Pharma 2021-2022, £85k

 

By utilising wireless optogenetic technology, behavioural testing and in vivo electrophysiology, we are investigating the function of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex in mediating top-down modulation of nociception and DNIC.

THE IMPACT OF PERI-OPERATIVE ANALGESIA ON NEUROPHARMACOLOGICAL OUTCOMES IN RODENT MODELS OF CHRONIC PAIN

NC3Rs, 2020-2023, £90K

 

We aim to refine rodent models of chronic pain by establishing if analgesia used to treat acute surgical pain affects the subsequent experimental endpoints assessed in the chronic pain phase.

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INVESTIGATING THE SOMATOSENSORY PHENOTYPE OF PEOPLE WITH PARKINSON'S

Parkinson's UK 2021-2023, £200K

 

We are applying psychophysical tests alongside KPPS pain scales to investigate a potential cause of constant pain in people with Parkinson's that may be linked to disease progression.

IN VIVO ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY

Studying sensory neuronal transmission at the single unit level

As the first site of sensory integration, the spinal cord is subjected to both local and top-down modulation and thus represents a key location for sensory transmission and regulation. In contrast to reflexive behavioural measures which reveal sensorimotor integration and threshold responses, single unit recordings permit the study of a full stimulus-response relationship ranging from sub-threshold to supra-threshold. Second order neurones in the deep dorsal horn also encode multiple features of nociceptive processing including sensory modality, fine-tuned intensity coding, spatial and temporal summation.

NEWS

Latest Updates

Apr 2022 - Read our latest work led by Dr Mateusz Kucharczyk on BioRxiv.

Mar 2022 - Read our latest work led by Dr Mateusz Kucharczyk in Brain.

 

Feb 2022 - We are pleased to announce that we have phenotyped our first person living with Parkinson's.

 

Jan 2022 - Dr Kirsty Bannister is the recipient of the Patrick D. Wall Young Investigator Prize for Basic Science awarded by the International Association for the Study of Pain.

Sept 2021 - The Bannister lab welcomes Dr Anna Fielding.

July 2021 - Dr Kirsty Bannister is awarded a New Investigator Research Grant from the MRC.

Bannister Lab In Numbers

11

GROUP MEMBERS

43

PUBLISHED ARTICLES

£1.1m

FUNDING

2017

FOUNDED

 

Media

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Speaking on the Today programme, Dr Kirsty Bannister discusses why chronic pain is so difficult to diagnose and treat (04/2019).

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In the first of a series looking at chronic pain and long Covid, Linda Geddes explores the growing realisation that pain can be a disease in and of itself – and the pandemic could be making it worse (28/06/2021)

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As a major new study is launched, Clare Addison talks about the little known chronic pain Parkinson's sufferers can experience and which forced her to retire early from the job she loved (15/11/2021).

Podcasts

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No. 21 : Dr Kirsty Bannister - #EFIC2019 Moving On With Pain.

Dr Morten Hoegh talked to Dr Kirsty Bannister at #EFIC2019 in Valencia, September 2019. This episoded is recorded with and for the European Pain Federation, EFIC. (06/09/2019)

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141: From Bench to Bedside: Pain Modulation Research | Kirsty Bannister

 

On this week's episode Liz and Jeff speak with Dr Kirsty Bannister, a renowned researcher on conditioned pain modulation, about what we know, what we’re studying, and what we can look forward to in the future of this topic. (16/10/2020)

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Defining Descending Control Pathways: A Podcast with Kirsty Bannister - IASP Pain Research Forum Podcasts

 

Dr Bannister speaks with PRF correspondent Bhushan Thakkar. They discuss Dr Bannister’s recent funding from Parkinson’s UK, the role of descending control in chronic pain focusing on the brainstem pathways, as well as its measurement using conditioned pain modulation and the challenges involved in this area. (17/03/2022)

 

COLLABORATORS

Our Research
Partners

Prof Frank Porreca (University of Arizona)

Prof Thomas Graven-Nielsen (CNAP/Aalborg University)

Prof Ray Chaudhuri (King's College Hospital)

Prof Anthony Dickenson (UCL)

Dr Sam Hughes (University of Plymouth)

Dr Dennis Ougrin (Queen Mary University of London)

Dr Matthew Howard (King's College London)

Dr Diana Cash (King's College London)

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