One in five Australians will suffer from chronic pain at some point in their lives. Many types of chronic pain remain poorly treated, and there is worldwide demand for new and creative pain treatment strategies.
Dr Samuel Robinson is an expert on plants and animals that sting. His research is based on three simple observations: i) most venomous animals use their venoms defensively; ii) most defensive stings or bites cause pain; and, iii) not all stings are equal, for example the sting of a honeybee feels different to that of a nettle. These observations tell us that venoms represent a vast and diverse source of different pain-causing chemicals.
By exploring the diverse chemistry underpinning different stings and how these chemicals interact with our bodies to cause pain, he can identify new potential drug targets in our pain signalling circuitry. Ultimately, this could lead to a completely new generation of painkiller drugs for different types of chronic pain.