Our goal is to discover the pathophysiological mechanisms of pain and hearing disorders, two major public health problems of great impact on both the patient and society. Of note, to address such clinical issues, we have developed a reverse translational research strategy that goes from bedside to bench and vice versa; that is, a clinical problem being identified, its mechanisms are investigated using appropriate animal models; if novel cellular or molecular targets are revealed or new explorations developed, they are then clinically validated by getting back to bedside. Therefore, our basic research is always clinically relevant. Moreover, because of our close interactions with socio-economical partners, it could easily lead to designing new equipment and improving therapy to help control such pain and hearing disorders.
Our unit results from the merge of three teams who share their expertise and strength, thus getting potentiated at multiple levels: (collaborative) projects, human resources, skills and ideas, technical approaches and means. Team’s 1 main interest is on the pathophysiology and pharmacology of chronic pain, including the study of mechanisms of action and prescription patterns of current analgesic drugs and the design of new strategies in the treatment of chronic pains. Team 2 investigates trigeminal (cephalic and oral) pain, focusing on migraine and mechanical allodynia. Team 3 develops tools for measuring auditory performance and its modulation, e.g. by intracranial pressure, thus extending its field of interest to extra-auditory domains in relation to pain. In addition, the three teams collaborate on specific projects between on the one hand chronic spinal and trigeminal pain and on the other handpain and hearing. Our merger boosted (i) the development of new tools for investigating brain functions including: optogenetics, Ca2+ imaging, multi-photon microscopy, ultrasound system to analyze brain functional connectivity, mathematical tools to analyze data obtained from humans as well as animals; (ii) the opening of new research avenues including: brain processes in pain (team 1 and 2), pharmaco-epidemiology of pain and its relationship to microbiota (team 1), functional and anatomical changes in migraine neocortex (team 2), relationships between migraine and hyperacusis (teams 2 and 3); and finally (iii) our international visibility, the best way to attract bright new people.