DREAM Campaign Support Results in NIH Grant

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Dr. Sven-Eric Jordt’s Duke Anesthesiology laboratory a two-year, $384,780 grant from its National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for their project titled, “Mechanisms of Itch in Poison Ivy-Induced Allergic Contact Dermatitis.”

This R21 grant will support highly innovative research to identify mechanisms of itch. “Conditions such as allergic contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are widespread, with patients suffering from strong untreatable itch,” says Dr. Jordt, who adds that the sensation of itch is related to the sensation of pain which is triggered by related nerve pathways. “However, itch research has clearly lagged behind pain research and there is a great need for new treatments.”

This success was made possible with support from a DREAM Innovation Grant (DIG) to Dr. Boyi Liu in Dr. Jordt’s Chemical Sensing, Pain and Inflammation Research Laboratory. This lab focuses on the mechanisms that enable humans and animals to sense touch, pain and irritation.

The DIG is part of Duke Anesthesiology’s DREAM (Developing Research Excellence in Anesthesia Management) Campaign, endowed by philanthropic gifts to the department, which supports innovative high-risk and potentially high-reward investigations to accelerate anesthesia and pain management to improve patient care. Dr. Liu recently joined the faculty of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University in Hangzhou, China, and will continue collaborating with Dr. Jordt’s group.