Skip to main content

IASP PRF Webinar: 2021 Rita Allen Foundation Award in Pain Scholars - Part 1


Attendance is free for IASP members, though registration is still required. A registration fee of $25 is required for non-IASP members. To become an IASP member, you can join here. Trainee memberships are $50 per year, while regular memberships are $180 or $230 per year, depending on income level.

This past February, the Rita Allen Foundation named their 2021 class of Award in Pain Scholars, celebrating four early-career leaders in the biomedical sciences whose research holds exceptional promise for revealing new pathways to understand and treat chronic pain. IASP and PRF are excited to host two webinars, featuring two 2021 Award in Pain Scholars each, to learn more about their work to expand the understanding of chronic pain and its widespread societal impact.

In Part 1, presentations will be given by: 
-- Aaron Mickle, PhD, University of Florida, USA
Urothelial Cells and Bladder Sensory Signaling

-- Nicole Scheff, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, USA.
The Impact of CGRP Neurotransmission on Head and Neck Cancer Pain and Progression
In oral squamous cell carcinoma, pain is a primary feature and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-releasing sensory nerves dominate tumor innervation. CGRP signaling drives a pro-tumor microenvironment by limiting immunosurveillance of cancer suggesting that blockade of CGRP release from tumor-innervating sensory nerves may be a viable therapeutic strategy to reduce pain and slow cancer progression.

This session will be moderated by:
-- Edgar Alfonso Romero-Sandoval, MD, PhD, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, North Carolina, USA


  • Aaron Mickle, PhD

    Aaron Mickle, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiological Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida, USA. He achieved his PhD in pharmacology from the University of Iowa, USA, under the mentorship of Dr. DP Mohapatra, studying nociceptor sensitization in the context of metastasized cancer pain. He completed his postdoc at Washington University, Missouri, USA, with Dr. Robert Gereau, where he collaborated with material, electrical, and biomedical engineers to develop closed-loop optogenetic-based neuromodulatory technologies. His current research focuses on incorporating multiple techniques at the system and cellular level to answer questions related to mechanisms of visceral pain and function.

  • Nicole Scheff, PhD

    Nicole Scheff, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. She received her doctorate from the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Gold studying inflammation-induced calcium signaling dysregulation in sensory afferents. She then went on to do a postdoc at New York University, USA, in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Schmidt investigating the underlying mechanisms of oral cancer pain. After receiving a K99/R00 award, she started her independent research career at the Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh in March 2020. The goal of her research is to integrate neurobiology, cancer biology, and immunology in order to fully appreciate neural-immune-cancer communication and develop a more holistic approach to novel cancer pain treatment. She seeks to understand plasticity in peripheral neurons associated with head and neck cancer and to investigate whether therapy targeted to neurons in the cancer microenvironment can alleviate pain and slow tumorigenesis. Her lab executes translational research through the collection of patient-reported outcomes and clinical specimens as well as implementation of molecular, electrophysiological, and behavioral studies in preclinical mouse models. When not working, she and her husband, ideally with cocktails, enjoy coming up with creative tactics to entertain their two kids, all which inevitability disintegrate into who can dominate at hide and seek.

  • Edgar Alfonso Romero-Sandoval, MD, PhD

    Edgar Alfonso Romero-Sandoval, MD, PhD, received his medical degree from Centro Universitario de Occidente, Quetzaltenango (Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala) in 1999 and a PhD in neuroscience from Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Spain, in 2003. Currently, he is Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston Salem, US. The Romero-Sandoval laboratory explores neuroimmune interactions in surgical and neuropathic pain and neuropathies induced by trauma, diabetes or chemotherapy. His lab currently focuses on phenotypic changes in immune cells governed by endoplasmic reticulum or mitochondria function and dysfunction. Additionally, Dr. Romero-Sandoval studies the endocannabinoid system in the context of pain, cannabis pharmacology, and how the cannabis market in the US is shaped and could affect cannabis user patients. His laboratory uses highly translatable approaches, including nanotechnology for cell-directed gene therapies, functional assays using primary human cells, clinical data, and marketing practices analysis.

May 24, 2022
Tue 12:00 PM EDT

Duration 1H 0M

Already Registered?