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Steven Middleton

Post-doctoral researcher


I am currently a post-doctoral research scientist in the Neural Injury Research Group led by Professor David Bennett. My research focuses on the neurobiology of pain and touch sensation. In particular, my work interrogates the functional role of different populations of sensory neurons. Sensory neurons are heterogeneous nerve cells that innervate sensory targets such as the skin, and extend central terminals which enter the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. I study this sensory circuit and aim to understand the mechanisms that govern normal (protective) touch and pain, and how following injury or disease pain can become chronic (neuropathic pain). I use pre-clinical genetic models to target and silence sensory function in healthy and neuropathic conditions. My research aims to identify which population(s) of sensory neurons are critical for driving neuropathic pain, and to identify novel, druggable, targets in these key populations. In addition, I am developing innovative gene therapies that can silence abnormal activity in human IPSC derived sensory neurons, as a means to treat chronic pain.