Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. has presented its second annual Award for Distinguished Achievement in Pain Research to Ronald Dubner. Dubner, 55, is chief of the Neurobiology and Anesthesiology Branch of the National Institute, of Dental Research at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md..
Dubner was the first to identify specific pain-sensing cells (nociceptors) and their connections to the central nervous system. Prior to his work, it had been believed that the nerves in the skin responded to both painful and nonpainful stimuli.
Dubner also has found, in examining the effects of injury on the central nervous- system, that injury caused the skin nociceptors to become more sensitive. As a result, the nociceptors send increased impulses to the dorsal horn on the spinal cord. In response to the increase in signals, the nerve cells on the dorsal horn become larger, thus amplifying the pain signal.
Dubner has participated in clinical...