Seminar examines biology of pain and nerve repair in peripheral nerve disease

The Jack Miller Center for Peripheral Neuropathy at the University of Chicago will present its second biennial scientific symposium on the "Frontiers of Peripheral Nerve Research," from 9 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. on Friday, April 28, 2006, at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th Street, Chicago.

The seminar will focus on pain mechanisms and peripheral nerve development, repair and regeneration. Speakers include Rhona Mirsky of University College, London; Elior Peles of the Weizmann Institute, Israel; Jeff Milbrandt of Washington University in St. Louis; Stephen Waxman of Yale; Bill Snider of the University of North Carolina; and Clifford Woolf of Harvard.

Peripheral neuropathy is a common disorder, affecting about three percent of all those over age 60. The disease results from damage to the nerves and nerve processes that are located outside the brain and spinal cord. It has many causes, including diabetes, traumatic injury to the nerves, damage to or swelling of the sheaths around nerves, circulation problems, genetics, or a misdirected immune attack on nerve tissue. Symptoms include pain in the hands and arms, legs and feet--sometimes constant and quite severe--as well as progressive numbness and weakness in the arms and legs.

The Miller Center promotes multidisciplinary investigations into peripheral neuropathies, focusing on efforts to determine the cause, at the molecular level, and finding ways to use that knowledge to produce a cure for these disorders. The Center was founded in 1999 by a generous gift from Jack Miller of Lincolnshire, Illinois, founder and president of Quill Corporation. Miller, who suffers from peripheral neuropathy, was frustrated by the lack of information about the disease and decided to launch a concerted effort by neuroscientists at the University of Chicago to investigate the basic biology of the neuropathy and to search for better treatments and, eventually, a cure for this common nerve disorder.

Schedule --- Friday, April 28, 2006
Ida Noyes Hall, the University of Chicago, 1212 E. 59th Street

8:15 9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 9:15 Opening Remarks:

James L. Madara, M.D., Dean, Biological Sciences Division and Pritzker School of Medicine and University of Chicago Vice-President for Medical Affairs,

Christopher Gomez, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Department of Neurology, the University of Chicago,

Brian Popko, Ph.D., Jack Miller Professor in Neurological Diseases, Director, Jack Miller Center for Peripheral Neuropathy, the University of Chicago, and

Jack Miller, Founder, Jack Miller Center for Peripheral Neuropathy

9:15 - Noon Morning Session

Rhona Mirsky, Ph.D., Professor of Developmental Neurobiology at University College, London, UK, on "Signals that control Schwann cell development and myelination."

Elior Peles, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, on "Axon-glia interactions at the nodes of Ranvier."

Jeffrey Milbrandt, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pathology and Immunology, Internal Medicine and Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, on "Molecular insights into myelination and axonal degeneration."

Noon 1:30 Lunch

1:30 4:30 Afternoon Session

Stephen G. Waxman, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chairman of Neurology, and Professor of Neurobiology and Pharmacology at Yale Medical School, Neurologist-in-Chief at Yale-New Haven Medical Center, and Director of the Center for Neuroscience & Regeneration Research at the VA Medical Center, Connecticut, on "Sodium channels in axonal disease."

William Snider, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Cell & Molecular Physiology, and Director, of the Neuroscience Center at the University Of North Carolina School of Medicine, on "The path from nerve growth factor to axon assembly."

Clifford J. Woolf, M.D., Ph.D., the Richard Kitz Chair of Anesthesia Research at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Neural Plasticity Research Group at Massachusetts General Hospital, on "What the peripheral nervous system can tell us about promoting successful regeneration."

4:30 5:30 Reception

Media are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Nancy Herman, Director of Programs, Jack Miller Center for Peripheral Neuropathy, at 773.834.8973, or by email at nherman@neurology.bsd.uchicago.edu

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Funding for the symposium came from the Brain Research Foundation and from grants from Pfizer, Takeda, Lilly, Athena Diagnostics and a generous patient.


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