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Bianca Mason

Mentor: Andrew Russo, Ph.D.
Lab Room: 5-531 BSB
Lab Phone: 319-335-7873

Role of peripheral and central CGRP in light aversive behavior

Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a potent neuropeptide that has been widely implicated in the pathogenesis of migraine. Several pharmaceutical companies are engineering new migraine therapies to attenuate the actions of CGRP. Unfortunately, although CGRP has been heavily studied, its mechanisms of action in migraine still remain unclear. Our lab is taking advantage of CGRP-induced light aversion in mice as a surrogate for photophobia, which is an abnormal intolerance of light experienced by most migraineurs. The approach I am using to understand the roles of CGRP is to first determine whether CGRP can act by peripheral sites, as well as within the CNS, to cause light aversive behavior. I then plan to genetically target specific cell types and regions in the CNS that may contribute to CGRP-induced light aversion, in particular the circumventricular organs that lie outside the blood brain barrier.