Cao Lab

3Migraine is one of the most common neurovascular disorders and an enormous burden to the healthcare system. One of the major symptoms of migraine, the recurring headache, is highly debilitating, poorly understood and difficult to treat. A significant proportion of patients have headaches that are not responsive to current therapies and increase in frequency over time, eventually becoming chronic migraine.

Research in our lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms of episodic and chronic migraine from both cellular and systems neuroscience perspectives. We employ a multidisciplinary approach including state-of-the-art technologies in electrophysiology, time-lapse imaging, anatomical tracing, single neuron profiling as well as mouse genetics and behavioral assays.

Current research projects include:

  1. To understand how migraine-associated ion channel mutations affect channel biophysics, neuronal excitability, synaptic transmission and ultimately the encoding of headache.
  2. To study the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the transition from episodic to chronic migraine in mouse models.
  3. To investigate how the innate and adaptive immune systems modulate the neuronal circuits underlying migraine headache.

Through these mechanistic studies, we hope to identify novel molecular and cellular targets for the development of new abortive and prophylactic therapeutics for migraine and other primary headache disorders.

Learn more about the Cao Lab

Contact information

Lab Address:
Clinical Sciences Research Building (CSRB), Room 5524

Mailing Address:
660 S. Euclid Ave.
Campus Box 8054
St. Louis, MO

Shipping Address:
4940 Parkview Place, Room 5539
Department of Anesthesiology
St. Louis, MO 63110

Office: (314) 362-8726
Lab: (314) 747-4817
Fax: (314) 362-8571