Edward R. Perl, Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Physiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is the recipient of the fourth annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Pain Research. The award, which consists of a $50,000 prize and a silver medallion, was presented to Perl in November at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society in New Orleans.

Perl, 64, was recognized for his discovery of nociceptors, nerve endings in skin and tissue that convey information about pain-causing stimuli, and for his finding that nociceptors engage some specific central neural mechanisms. He also found that nociceptors have the ability to become sensitized to repeated stimulation, so that normally nonpainful actions, such as the touch of a hand, cause pain--for example, in cases of sunburn.

Nociceptors--so named because they detect noxious stimuli--were first hypothesized to exist at the turn of the century by Sir Charles Sherrington,...

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