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Dr. Marco Martina

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Professor of Neuroscience
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

About

Areas of Focus

  • Neuroscience
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Ion channels
  • Chronic pain
  • Synaptic transmission

Work/Research

  • Cellular neurophysiology, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms of action potential generation and propagation and on the role of dendrites in post synaptic signal integration.
  • The role of ion channels in neurological disease, and in particular on the brain mechanisms mediating chronic pain
  • Re-arrangement of cortical networks in disease (chronic pain; schizophrenia; epilepsy)
  • Brainstem control of breathing¬†

Our lab has pioneered the idea that rearrangement of the limbic system and of the medial prefrontal cortex in particular has a central role in pain chronification. We have shown that in a neuropathic pain model individual neurons of the prefrontal cortex undergo morphological and functional changes within one week from pain onset; these include decreased excitatory transmission and cholinergic modulation, as well as layer-specific changes in dendritic length. We are currently exploring the causal role of several limbic areas such as the hippocampus, nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area in the maintenance of chronic pain.