Meet Our Researchers 

Karin Westlund High, PhD, Vice Chair for Research, Professor

Headshot Karin HighKarin Westlund High, PhD, has over 40 years of experience in chronic pain research with a focus on behavioral pharmacology. She has pursued studies relevant to clinical pain syndromes for more than 20 years and has also trained 10 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and clinical trainees who continue to study in this field.

Her laboratory specializes in developing and efficacy testing non-opioid therapeutics including:

  • Novel small antibodies therapies
  • Gabapentin and Pregabalin
  • Transdermal cannabinoid formulation
  • Repurposed drugs and endogenous opioid gene therapies in chronic animal models of pancreatitis and arthritis

More recently, chronic orofacial neuropathic and inflammatory pain models mimicking human chronic pain conditions have been devised for study. Single chain variable Fragment (scFv) antibodies developed to block pain biomarkers P2X4 and cholecystokinin B (CCK-B) receptor signaling are permanently reversing chronic pain, anxiety, and depression in these models. The efficacy of the patented scFv antibodies rivals other preclinical drug trials and could potentially replace morphine derivatives.

Dr. Westlund High’s laboratory’s highly cited studies are published as 179 peer reviewed manuscripts, 45 review chapters and reference texts. Read Dr. Westlund High’s recent publications.

Sascha R.A. Alles, PhD, Assistant Research Professor

Headshot Sascha AllesSascha Alles, PhD, has over 10 years of experience in molecular/cellular neuroscience and pain research using pre-clinical models of chronic pain and human pain disorders. He completed his BSc Hons at Imperial College London and his PhD at the University of Alberta. Dr. Alles completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of British Columbia with Professor Terry Snutch, PhD, and at University College London with Professor John Wood, PhD.

Dr. Alles’ lab uses patch-clamp electrophysiology, pharmacology, calcium imaging and molecular biology methods in live tissue derived from animal models of chronic pain to advance development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of chronic pain and neurological diseases.

He has authored several publications and conference papers and has been published in high impact journals including Science Advances, PNAS, Neuropharmacology and Molecular Pain. Read Dr. Alles recent publications.