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2013 Dr. Paul Janssen Award Symposium to Honor Researcher for Advances in Understanding of Temperature and Pain Sensation

The symposium is presented by the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research and the New York Academy of Sciences.

Published August 29, 2013

NEW YORK, August 29, 2013 — Imagine not being able to feel the pain associated with extreme heat or cold. Rather than being a benefit, such a lack of thermosensation can be life-threatening, says David Julius, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, the winner of the 2013 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research.

On Thursday, September 19, at Understanding Somatosensation and Pain: The 2013 Dr. Paul Janssen Award Symposium, Julius will be honored for his ground-breaking scientific research that has advanced knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of touch, pain, and thermosensation. The symposium, taking place at the New York Public Library, is presented by the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research and the New York Academy of Sciences.

"Our ability to detect and perceive the temperature of our environment, or objects within it, is essential for our ability to avoid injury and regulate our own body temperature. Certainly these functions are essential to our survival and well-being. They are also relevant to mechanisms that underlie some persistent pain syndromes," says Julius.

In 1997, Julius published a landmark study on the identification and cloning of the transient receptor potential (TRPV1) ion channel based on its activation by capsaicin from chili peppers as well as by excessive heat. This discovery opened the door for Julius to perform research that has led to an understanding of pain hypersensitivity, and how neurons sense stimuli and transmit these signals to the brain. He will be honored for his role in discovering unifying mechanisms for nociception and thermosensation, as well as his ongoing research to better understand how these mechanisms contribute to the perception of acute, chronic, and inflammatory pain.

"The field of pain research has just exploded in the past 15 or so years and there are now so many fundamental and fascinating questions and goals to address," says Julius. One of these goals is identifying additional pain receptors that may be used as targets for the development of new analgesics.

Following an Award lecture by Julius, leading scientists in the somatosensory field will discuss new insights on the biology of pain and translational research that may lead to new therapies for chronic pain and inflammatory syndromes. Speakers will include:

  • Husseini Manji, MD, FRCPC, Global Therapeutic Area Head, Neuroscience, Janssen Research & Development, LLC, on "New Developments in Pain Treatment";
  • Allan Basbaum, PhD, FRS, University of California, San Francisco, on "Transgenic Mice as a Tool to Study Pain and Its Control";
  • M. Catherine Bushnell, PhD, National Institutes of Health, on "Understanding the Neural Basis of Pain Processing"; and
  • Clifford Woolf, MB, BCh, PhD, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard University, on "Developing Novel Analgesics to Target the Pain Pathway."

All speakers will participate in a wrap-up panel discussion on "Perspectives on Translating Pain Research From Bench to Bedside," moderated by David S. Bredt, MD, PhD, Global Head, Discovery, Neuroscience, Janssen Research & Development, LLC.

The Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research was created by Johnson & Johnson to honor the legacy of one of the most passionate, creative and productive scientists of the 20th century, Dr. Paul Janssen (1926-2003), whose work led to breakthroughs in several fields, including pain management, psychiatry, infectious disease, and gastroenterology. Four of the drugs discovered by Dr. Paul and his team remain on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines. The winners of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research are chosen by an independent committee of renowned scientists, including Nobel Laureates and Lasker Prize winners. The Award includes a $100,000 prize.

Symposium registration is free, made possible by support from Johnson &p Johnson and the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research. Advance registration is required. For more information and to register, visit

Media must RSVP to Diana Friedman ( or 212-298-8645).

About the New York Academy of Sciences
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