Medical College receives grants to study post-traumatic stress disorder, pelvic pain

The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a one-year, $50,000 grant to study treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a four-year, $1.8 million grant to study the genetic and physical causes of chronic pelvic pain.

The grant to study post-traumatic stress disorder was awarded to a collaborative team of researchers from MCW and Marquette University from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin.

PTSD is a debilitating anxiety disorder caused by exposure to extreme emotional and/or physical stress.  Those who suffer from it are plagued with intrusive and persistent memories of the event, and one of the goals of the project is to determine whether increasing endocannabinoid (one of the chemicals involved in PTSD) signaling in a mouse model of PTSD can reduce the persistence of negative memories.

The primary investigators for the grant are Paul Gasser, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical sciences at Marquette University, and Cecilia Hillard, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and toxicology at MCW and director of MCW’s Neuroscience Research Center. Their collaborator is Linda Vaughn, Ph.D., professor of biomedical sciences at Marquette University and director of the Marquette Obesity Venture.

The grant awarded to MCW to study genetic and physical causes of chronic pelvic pain is from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

One of the risk factors for chronic pelvic pain is urinary tract infections early in life. The intense, painful stimulus and inflammation of the urinary bladder in the neonatal period may adversely affect neurological development, leading to CPP in adulthood. This project will be the first systematic evaluation that integrates both physiological and molecular approaches to investigate the underlying mechanism of the neurons involved in neonatal infection-induced chronic bladder pain, as well as a pathological cause for overlapping pelvic pain.

Jyoti Sengupta, Ph.D., associate professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at MCW, is the primary investigator of the grant. The co-primary investigator on the grant is Banani Banerjee, Ph.D., assistant professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at MCW.

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