March 21, 2006

Neuroscience of Pleasure and Pain

An informal discussion with

 Howard Fields, M.D, Ph.D.

University of California San Francisco Professor,
Neurology and Physiology
Director, Wheeler Center for Neurobiology of Addiction

Tuesday March 21, 2006
6 to 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Howard Fields 's research at the UCSF Wheeler Center for Neurobiology of Addiction focuses on the neurobiology of pain and pleasure, the subjective correlates of the two major forces that govern motivated behavior. His team's research on endogenous opioids (endorphins, enkephalins, dynorphins and endomorphins) aims at determining how each of these and their receptors contribute to pain modulation and to addictive behaviors. His laboratory has discovered two distinct classes of neurons in the pain modulating circuits: the ON cell which facilitates pain transmission and the OFF cell that inhibits pain transmission. The team has shown that endogenous opioids inhibit ON cells and indirectly excite the OFF cells to inhibit pain transmission. Dr. Fields received his MD and PhD from the Stanford University School of Medicine and did his residency in Neurology at the Harvard Medical School.