Pain and Neuroinflammation Imaging Lab

Zeynab Alshelh, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, MGH/HST Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging (Alumni)

In August 2018, I received my PhD in Medicine with a thesis title of Infra-slow oscillations in chronic neuropathic pain and the effects of palmitoylethanolamide from the University of Sydney, Australia. The focus of the research was to understand the mechanisms underlying orofacial neuropathic pain, specifically to understand the possible role of reactive astrocytes on central nervous system functional activity in neuropathic pain. I also designed and conducted a Phase I clinical trial, where I investigated the effects of a palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), which is fatty acid amide that affects astrocyte activity, on pain intensity and functional brain activity.

By joining the Loggia lab, I hope to expand my research in understanding the underlying mechanisms of pain and the effects of glial cells by using PET/MR imaging techniques, and test numerous hypotheses that I have developed throughout my research career. During my fellowship, I will learn PET imaging techniques, and together with my MRI analysis skill set, I hope to contribute to the ever-growing pain literature.

Outside of research and back home, I lead a volunteer based karate club, which focuses on teaching children and young adults discipline, self-defense and confidence and I compete in karate competitions nationally and internationally. I also dabble in horseback riding, squash, hiking and any physical activity I come across.