As an anaesthetist and pain clinician I am naturally interested in integrative sensory and autonomic neuroscience. The nervous system has evolved sophisticated means to monitor and respond to changes in both the internal and external environment, such homeostatic processes are critical for health and survival of the organism. My lab is interested in the central control mechanisms regulating the discriminative and output responses to interoceptive and exteroceptive stimuli.
We focus on how the sensory and autonomic systems exhibit plastic changes in pathological conditions such as in chronic pain states and hypertension. For these conditions to persist there is a failure or limitation in the normal central neural compensatory mechanisms, many of which share overlapping circuitry within the brainstem. The goal of our work is to provide a better understanding of these neural dysfunctions, which may be either primary or permissive factors, with a view to identifying novel treatment targets.