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Science AMA Series: This is Dr. Cheryl Stucky and Francie Moehring. We do research on touch and pain, including the mechanisms underlying the role of chronic pain in skin diseases, and we’re here today to talk about it. AMA!
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Hi Reddit About us: Dr. Cheryl Stucky: Hi! I am a Marvin Wagner Endowed Professor in the department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, and the Neuroscience Doctoral Program Director, at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I am broadly interested in understanding touch and pain mechanisms. I have run a research laboratory for about 18 years at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where we use rodent models to study the mechanism of pain in diseases such as sickle cell disease, Fabry disease, arthritis and postsurgical pain. My lab also focuses on understanding how we sense touch, and we recently found out that our skin plays a large role in this. Building upon this knowledge, we are now investigating what role damaged skin plays in chronic pain conditions. The ultimate goal of our research is to identify new targets for which topical drugs can be developed in order to treat these pain conditions and avoid the negative side effects of many current treatments that are already out there. Francie Moehring: I am the senior graduate student in Cheryl’s laboratory. Many skin disorders such as dermatitis and psoriasis share a common hallmark: increased sensitivity or even pain to touch or normally unpainful stimuli. My project in the Stucky lab focuses on laying the foundation for understanding dysfunctional signaling processes during these disorders to potentially reveal new drug targets for topical treatments that directly target the site of pain. In order to study these processes, we are trying to understand how our skin, and the specific cells that form it, can interact with neurons and nerves within the skin that are typically involved in sensing mechanical stimuli from the environment. We’re here to answer questions about a recent paper we published in the journal eLife (https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.31684?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=forum&utm_campaign=AMAFeb18; plain-language summary: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.31684.002?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=forum&utm_campaign=AMAFeb18) – where we studied how our skin communicates with the nervous system – or queries related to our research more broadly. Please note that we are unable to provide any medical advice, as this goes beyond the scope of our research. We’ll start answering questions at 1pm EST. AMA!