Expert in itch discovered first itch-specific gene
From the WashU Newsroom…
Zhou-Feng Chen, PhD, director of the Washington University Center for the Study of Itch, has been named the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Professor in Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Chen’s research has provided valuable insight into how itch sensation is transmitted in the nervous system.
He was installed as the Shelden Professor by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.
A pioneer in itch research, Chen’s work has demonstrated that itch signals are not pain signals but are carried by nerve cells along an altogether different circuit in the spinal cord.
“Zhou-Feng’s research provides fundamental insight into the genetic and molecular mechanisms that mediate itch,” said Alex S. Evers, MD, the Henry E. Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the Department of Anesthesiology. “Importantly, Zhou-Feng and his colleagues in the Center for the Study of Itch are making great progress in translating these discoveries into treatments to help people who suffer from itch. This professorship enhances and helps maintain our department’s preeminent position in research involving itch.”