Stephanie Puig, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

Research Interests

Dr. Puig’s research focuses on finding new therapeutic targets to improve safety of prescription opioids, by limiting the incidence of deleterious side effects such as tolerance, dependence, reward, and respiratory depression, in order to ultimately decrease the occurrence of addiction and overdoses death. She is particularly interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms and the circuitry involving receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling in opioid-mediated side-effects. Using a translational approach in rodents that combines behavioral neuropharmacology, mouse genetics, optogenetics, biochemistry, live cell, and tissue imaging, she aims at understanding the role of crosstalk between RTKs and the mu-opioid receptor (MOR, target of clinically prescribed opioids), in the signaling pathways activated by acute and chronic administration of prescription opioids in rodents. Using proteomics and phosphoproteomics, she is also interested in identifying novel druggable targets involved in the occurrence side-effects, downstream of MOR and RTKs signaling. Since opioids continue to being considered the most effective strategy to alleviate severe and chronic pain despite decades of research on alternatives, her work is primordial and could help thousands of patients currently taking prescription opioids and at risk for developing life-threatening side-effects or addiction.

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