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Vol. LX, No. 4
February 22, 2008

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Mass General’s Woolf To Inaugurate NIDCR Seminar Series

  Dr. Clifford J. Woolf  
  Dr. Clifford J. Woolf  

On Monday, Mar. 3, NIDCR will launch a new seminar series that highlights advances in basic and applied research most likely to benefit medical practice in the future. The series, titled “From Basic Research to Therapy—The Latest Frontier,” will focus on research topics of broad interest to the NIH community.

Dr. Clifford J. Woolf, who holds the Richard Kitz chair of anesthesia research at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, will inaugurate the series when he speaks on “Pain-Specific Blockade—Targeting Analgesics Only to Where it Hurts,” at 2 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10.

Woolf will discuss a novel strategy—recently developed by his laboratory—that allows highly selective blockage of electrical signaling in pain-sensing neurons without affecting signaling by other types of neurons. Unlike conventional anesthesia, this new strategy allows a pain-specific local anesthesia or analgesia without producing paralysis or general numbness.

Woolf has made numerous contributions to the field of pain research, particularly in the understanding of pain mechanisms and in therapeutic approaches to pain. His work has revealed new targets for the development of novel analgesics and new diagnostics for predicting the risk of developing pain.

He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He then joined College London where he was subsequently appointed professor of neurobiology. Woolf also served as an honorary consultant at College London Hospitals. In 1997, he established the neural plasticity research group in the department of anesthesia and critical care at Mass General.

The new seminar series provides a forum for identifying gaps in knowledge as well as critical questions that need to be addressed to enable the best transition from basic research to therapy. Five seminars are scheduled in 2008. For information about future seminars, visit

Sign language interpretation will be provided. For more information, or for reasonable accommodation, contact Mary Daum, (301) 594-7559, and/or the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339). NIHRecord Icon

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