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Visceral Pain: The Physiology and Management

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

4:00 PM-5:30 PM

BIOMED Seminar

Visceral Pain: The Physiology and Management

Bin Feng, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Connecticut (UConn)

Chronic visceral pain is the cardinal symptom of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affecting up to 15% of the U.S. population. Efficacious and reliable therapeutic intervention is still unavailable despite the tremendous economic burden imposed by visceral pain. Pharmacological treatments of IBS-related visceral pain are largely unsatisfactory with side effects outweighing therapeutic benefits. Engineering approaches are promising at providing non-drug alternatives for managing chronic visceral pain. Pre-clinical and clinical evidence has confirmed that heightened peripheral drive from colorectal afferents (i.e., afferent sensitization) is necessary and sufficient for IBS-related pain and hypersensitivity.

In this presentation, I will first summarize the unique psychophysical and neurophysiological characteristics that make visceral pain unique from other types of pain. Then, I will emphasize on the noxious nature of mechanical stimuli to reliably evoke pain from the viscera, and the significant role of colorectal tissue biomechanics in afferent mechanotransduction and mechano-nociception. Further, I will introduce our ongoing research approaches of implementing neuromodulation to attenuate or inhibit peripheral afferent drives, which can potentially guide the design of next-generation neuromodulatory devices to better manage visceral pain.

Bin Feng, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the University of Connecticut (UConn). Dr. Feng received his BS from Tsinghua University and MS from the University of Oklahoma, both in Mechanical Engineering. He received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Purdue University, West Lafayette, where he started to gain interests in neural engineering and neurophysiology of the sensory systems. Afterwards, Dr. Feng conducted his post-doctoral training in visceral pain-related neuroscience at Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research.

In 2015, Dr. Feng joined the faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UConn to lead a multi-disciplinary research team that brings in engineering approaches to advance the field of visceral pain and management. Dr. Feng has authored 35 peer-reviewed journal publications, 2 book chapters, and 52 conference publications/abstracts. Dr. Feng’s ongoing research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF) and healthcare industry (i.e., Unilever Inc. and Allergan Inc.).

Contact Information

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Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building (PISB), Room 120, located on the northeast corner of 33rd and Chestnut Streets.


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