A major goal of the Pradhan Lab is to understand how delta opioid receptors regulate multiple migraine-related symptoms, and we are especially interested in how this receptor modulates neuropeptides associated with migraine pain. 

A further aim of my work is to identify the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the chronification of migraine, as well as overlapping mechanisms between chronic migraine and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Our lab has extensive expertise in animal models of migraine, pain, addiction, and emotional disorders; as well as significant experience with mutant mouse models. We also routinely perform tissue analysis using confocal microscopy, molecular biology, and protein analysis. I am interested in translating results from animal behavioral models to clinical applications, particularly for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Current Research

The role of delta opioid receptors in trigeminovascular pain

The aim of this project is to determine the role of delta opioid receptors in trigeminovascular pain (migraine). Specifically, we use viral and genetic tools to investigate the regulation of  pro-migraine neuropeptides by delta opioid receptors.

Neuronal complexity and pain chronification

The goal of this research is to understand how neuronal complexity is altered in chronic migraine and pain, and the molecular mechanisms that regulate these effects.

The development of biased delta opioid receptor agonists for the treatment of opioid withdrawal-associated behaviors

We are working with academic and industry partners to develop a biased delta ligand for the treatment of opioid use disorder. We are specifically focusing on symptoms associated with prolonged abstinence, including hyperalgesia and mood disorders.

Overlapping mechanisms between opioid induced hyperalgesia and chronic migraine

The aim of these studies is to identify the transcriptomic and peptidomic links between opioid use and migraine chronification.

Previous Research

In Vivo Implications of Agonist Selective Activation of Delta Opioid Receptor

Delta opioid receptor agonists are currently being developed for the treatment of pain and emotional disorders. However, a sub-population of delta opioid receptor agonists also produce convulsions, a major deterrent to the development of these compounds. The goal of these studies was to determine the mechanism that accounts for this ligand-specific effect.