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Here is an abstract of the talk:
The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a eusocial, subterranean mammal that is poikilothermic and lives in excess of 30 years. In the last 20 years, there has been great interest in the naked mole-rat as a model organism across a range of biomedical research fields owing to their cancer resistance, healthy aging and unusual nociception. By discovering what underpins the extremophile nature of naked mole-rat biology, we hope to understand more about normal physiology. With regard to nociception, initial observations showed that naked mole-rats lack certain neuropeptides in their cutaneous afferents and that they have a lower number of unmyelinated nerve fibres innervating the skin than most other mammals. Behaviourally, we found that naked mole-rats show no nocifensive response to capsaicin or acid, nor do they develop thermal hyperalgesia in response to nerve growth factor, and yet they display normal nocifensive responses to noxious pressure and heat. We have been able to determine both the molecules and neurocircuitry that underpin these changes and believe that the naked mole-rat serves as a good model organism for studying the evolution of nociception, as well as demonstrating how studying extreme biology provides an alternative avenue for furthering our understanding of pain.