Chronic pain management is one of the most urgent unmet needs in medicine. Dr. Scholz studies mechanisms responsible for the development of persistent pain, with a focus on pain caused by lesions or diseases primarily affecting the nervous system. The laboratory uses human induced pluripotent stem cells to determine intrinsic risk factors for neurodegeneration and pain in diabetic neuropathy. Current research interests further include synaptic plasticity in the spinal cord and neuroimmune communication. Dr. Scholz and colleagues have demonstrated that peripheral nerve lesions trigger transsynaptic cell death in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, the first relay station for somatosensory input. The laboratory studies the mechanisms that render spinal neurons vulnerable to excitotoxicity. Nerve injury provokes macrophage invasion and marked microglial activation in the dorsal horn. Dr. Scholz examines signaling pathways that coordinate the recruitment and activation of immune and glial cells.
Scholz J, Mannion RJ, Hord ED, Griffin RS, Rawal B, Zheng H, Scoffings D, Phillips A, Guo J, Laing RJC, Abdi S, Decosterd I, Woolf CJ.
A novel tool for the assessment of pain: validation in low back pain PLoS Med 6(4):e1000047. (2009)
Costigan M, Scholz J, Woolf CJ
Neuropathic pain: a maladaptive response of the nervous system to damage. Annu Rev Neurosci 32:1–32. (2009)
Scholz J, Woolf CJ
The neuropathic pain triad: neurons, immune cells, and glia. Nat Neurosci 10(11):1361–8. (2007)
Scholz J, Broom DC, Youn DH, Mills CD, Kohno T, Suter MR, Moore KA, Decosterd I, Coggeshall RE, Woolf CJ.
Blocking caspase activity prevents transsynaptic neuronal apoptosis and the loss of inhibition in lamina II of the dorsal horn after peripheral nerve injury. J Neurosci 25(32):7317–23. (2005)
Benn SC, Perrelet D, Kato AC, Scholz J, Decosterd I, Mannion, RJ, Bakowska JC, Woolf, CJ.
Hsp27 upregulation and phosphorylation is required for injured sensory and motor neuron survival. Neuron 36(1):45–56. (2002)