NYU College of Dentistry Professor Dr. Marcela Romero-Reyes has been selected by the Migraine Research Foundation and the American Headache Society as the first recipient of the Thomas E. Heftler Migraine Research Award for her innovative proposal to investigate whether a treatment for migraine headaches can also be used to manage orofacial pain disorders, such as trigeminal neuropathies, which are often associated with burning sensations and sudden episodes of stabbing, electric shock-like pain in the lips, tongue, nose, scalp, forehead, and jaws.
Dr. Romero-Reyes, an Assistant Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology & Medicine and Director of the Orofacial and Head Pain Clinic, will study a molecule that has shown promise as a
treatment for acute migraine pain. This molecule blocks CGRP, or calcitonin gene-related peptide, a protein that triggers migraine pain by causing blood vessels in the trigeminovascular system (brainstem) to dilate and release inflammatory substances.
Like migraines, orofacial pain disorders are rooted in the trigeminovascular system. In her study, Dr. Romero-Reyes will examine whether blocking CGRP prevents orofacial inflammation and pain in mice.
Dr. Romero-Reyes is collaborating on the grant with her former mentor, Dr. Andrew Charles, Director of the Headache Research and Treatment Program at
the University of California at Los Angeles, where Dr. Romero-Reyes was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Neurosciences before joining the NYUCD faculty in September 2009.