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Investigating how we can utilize the endogenous opioid system to manage pain


The burden of chronic pain is a major cause of human suffering that is now estimated to cost Australia more than $73B per annum and even the most effective th¬¬erapeutics do not adequately manage pain. This project will investigate how enhancing the action of endogenous opioids regulates neural circuits important for pain as a basis for development of new analgesics.


Associate Professor Elena Bagley.

Research location

Camperdown - Charles Perkins Centre

Program type



Chronic pain states increase the activity of the body's endogenous opioid pain relief systems but not enough to overcome suffering in most people. In this project you will use two innovative pharmacological approaches to enhance opioid signalling in pain circuits. You will investigate whether directly enhancing actions of endogenously released opioids on opioid receptors using positive allosteric modulators and increasing opioid peptide levels using dual opioid peptide, breakdown inhibitors regulate neural circuits important for pain as a basis for development of analgesics with better therapeutic profiles.

Additional information

Techniques will include patch-clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics, immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. All these methods (and many more) are established in the Bagley laboratory.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2946

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