The Friedman Brain Institute

Headache and Pain

Headaches and chronic pain are among the most common health problems worldwide. Mount Sinai physicians and scientists are leading the way in learning what causes pain and how to better treat it.

Areas of Research

Our research in headache and pain is focused on a number of different areas.

Cellular Mechanisms of Chronic Pain: Guiding the Search for New Treatments

We use advanced genetic mouse models, molecular biology and biochemical assays to understand the brain region along with cell type-specific adaptations induced by chronic pain conditions. We are interested in understanding adaptations that these conditions promote in the peripheral nerve regions involved in pain transmission, as well as in networks involved in mood, motivation, and pain perception. One major focus is on epigenetic mechanisms of chronic pain, whereby long-term changes in the function of genes in the brain and spinal cord drive persistent pain. These efforts are identifying novel targets for the treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain.

Scientist involved:

Research on Neuropathic Pain and Spasticity Treatment

Our physician-scientists are studying new neuropathic pain treatments in patients with painful neuropathy. Our team is also studying spasticity treatment with botulinum toxin. We have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of a high-concentration capsaicin patch in the treatment of certain types of painful peripheral neuropathy.

Scientist involved: David M. Simpson, Jessica Robinson-Papp

Dr. Morgello is the principal investigator of a longitudinal, multidisciplinary cohort study/ research resource, examining neurologic, neuropsychologic, psychiatric, neuropathologic, and general medical abnormalities in individuals with HIV and/or HCV infection. Research focus within the Manhattan HIV Brain Bank and the Manhattan Brain Bank spans diverse nervous system disorders, including cognitive impairment, peripheral neuropathy, inflammatory/metabolic complications of HIV and its therapies, and CNS impacts of HCV.

Scientist involved: Susan Morgello

Studying Ways to Promote Spine Health and Repair

We are conducting studies to investigate functional changes in the spine in response to loading and injury and to evaluate promising therapeutic techniques to promote spine health and repair. These efforts span biomechanics, mechanobiology, tissue engineering, and anti-inflammatory and cellular therapies. We use animal, cell, and organ culture studies to focus on models of injury and repair that apply  to human conditions. Our research balances exploration of fundamental mechanisms and translation with appreciation for the development and maturation processes in human joints that promote health and disease processes.

Scientist involved: James Iatridis