John Wood has successfully teased apart the molecular mechanisms in sensory nerve cells that underlie the perception of pain. His work has revealed how different sets of molecules trigger pain signals in different types of neuron and has had an immediate effect on the design of painkillers.
Being able to feel pain is an important part of how we sense the world around us and avoid injury by heat, cold, hard objects and so on. John has studied people who are genetically oblivious to pain, and further explored the functional consequences in mice with the same defects. He has also found out why even a light touch can sometimes feel painful.
John has developed the translational side of his work through the pharmaceutical company he co-founded to develop new treatments for chronic pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis or cancer. In 2009, he won the Grand Prix Scientifique of the Fondation NRJ.
Head, Molecular Nociception Group, Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, University College London (UCL)
Interest and expertise
Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
Biochemistry and molecular biology
Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
Animal (especially mammalian) and human physiology and anatomy (non-clinical), Physiology incl biophysics of cells (non-clinical), Behavioural neuroscience, Cellular neuroscience