Professor Sue Fleetwood-Walker

Professor Sue  Fleetwood-Walker


Professor Sue Fleetwood-Walker


University of Edinburgh

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Susan M Fleetwood-Walker (Personal Chair in Sensory Neuroscience, Edinburgh) uses pharmacological, physiological, biochemical and molecular tools to identify key receptors, protein:protein interactions and signalling events in pain processing in order to identify novel therapeutic opportunities for analgesics that can reverse intractable pain states. Studies have identified the specific receptor subtypes able to exert analgesia due to various different monoamines, neuropeptides and glutamate (AMPA, NMDA and mGluR). Key receptor-interacting proteins, such as PSD-95, and domains for recruiting downstream kinases have been revealed. Development of novel Ca2+ fluorometric assays in synaptoneurosomes enabled further identification of receptors modulating synaptic excitability in hypersensitivity states, such P2Y1R in nociceptive afferents of mitochondrial mutant mice and 5-HT2AR in forebrain following prenatal stress.The discovery of endogenous analgesic gating by TRPM8+ afferents has led to drug discovery campaigns, a spin-out, clinical trials and patents. Further recent work identified a key role of ErbB1 and ErbB2 heterodimers as a novel therapeutic target for chronic pain.