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Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics (MCBG) Faculty Highlight - Seena Ajit

Seena Ajit, PhD

2021-2022 Faculty Highlight

Seena Ajit, PhD, is an associate professor of pharmacology and physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine. Dr. Ajit has been a member of the MCBG program Steering Committee. She also directs several courses including Responsible Conduct of Research and New Frontiers in Therapy.

Dr. Ajit was awarded an R01 grant for her project “Small extracellular vesicles mediated signaling and pain.” The studies outlined in this proposal were based on findings from her previous R01 grant investigating the role of small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) in mediating neuropathic pain. The major goal of the currently funded proposal is to investigate whether monocyte/macrophage-derived sEVs in serum are necessary and sufficient to attenuate inflammatory pain hypersensitivity and confer prophylaxis in mouse model of inflammatory pain. The research will also investigate whether sEVs can impart an epigenetic immune memory in spinal microglia of recipient mice, granting the capacity to attenuate pain from a future insult and thereby contribute to the prophylactic effect of sEVs.

The second R01 was submitted in response to the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative to speed scientific solutions to the national opioid public health crisis. The focus of the HEAL initiative is the discovery and validation of novel targets for safe and effective pain treatment.” The major goals of the funded project, “Immune Modulating Therapies to Treat Complex Regional Pain Syndrome,” are to determine if alterations of circulating memory T cells and skin tissue-resident memory T cells contribute to the pathogenesis of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Studies will be performed using tibia fracture model (TFM) mice. A second major goal is to investigate whether repurposing currently used safe and efficacious immunotherapies targeting IL-15/2 receptor signaling can attenuate pain in rodent models of CRPS. The therapeutic potential of blocking IL-15Rβ using monoclonal antibodies and pharmacological agents will also be evaluated in TFM mice.

A Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics program graduate student working in a laboratory at Drexel University College of Medicine.