June 18th – 19th. Katarzyna spent two days in the historic complex of S. Andrea delle Dame, Second University of Naples (SUN).These two days were dedicated to the dissemination of the latest discoveries in pathophysiology and new possible pharmacotherapies for chronic pain within the conference “Advances in pain research: pathophysiology and new therapeutic strategies” sponsored by the Italian Society of Pharmacology (SIF). Katarzyna was invited as one of honorary speakers alongside to Tom Salt (London, UK), Min Zhuo (Toronto, Canada), Daniela Salvemini (Missouri, USA) and Marzia Malcangio (London, UK).
All lectures were highly inspiriting and showed recent ideas in the field of pain. For example, Prof. Daniela Salvemini presented her latest research on persistent pain states alleviation by switching on the A3 adenosine receptor carried out in collaboration with Prof. Sabatino Maione and Vito de Novellis (SUN). Professor Min Zhuo, an Editor in chief of several highly recognized journals in the field of molecular aspects of pain, focused on the reorganization of brain neurons in chronic pain and psychiatric disorders associated with pain states such as anxiety and depression. Professor of neurobiology and neuropharmacology at King’s College London, Marcia Malcangio who pioneered research on the communication between neurons and non-neuronal cells, talked about the neuro-immune interactions as a new therapeutic opportunities for managing chronic pain. Prof. Thomas Salt, focused his talk on the activity of neurons in the thalamus, which is the largest area of integration of painful information that comes to our brain. And finally Katarzyna discussed the most recent therapeutic implications for the endocannabonoid system to treat pain associated with osteoarthritis.
It bears a special remark that attending a scientific meeting in Naples has an additional, emotional value for Katarzyna. She gained her experience and expertise in the filed of cannabinoid research in the Endocannabinoid Research Group led by Prof. Vincenzo Di Marzo, one of the world’s leading cannabinoid scientists, who in 2010 was recognized as Thompson Reuters ‚top scientist of the decade’ for pharmacology and toxicology. It’s always a great pleasure for Kasia to come back to the place which had stolen her heart few years ago.
Katarzyna enjoyed Naples cuisine that is not only limited to pizza and fried food and that reminded her time as a Post-doc in Naples. She enjoyed every single dish served during conference dinners and also took a walk to an antique pastry shop Pintauro, where sfogliatellas (cakes filled with ricotta cheese) are served since 1785. Moreover she had a coffee at Gran Caffè Gambrinus, an elegant, turn-of-the-century coffeehouses found in cities such as Vienna or Paris. This historical café (founded in 1860) is located in a prominent spot, right next to the stunning Piazza del Plebiscito. However most importantly, she also spent lovely time with her Italian friends and enjoyed delicious ice creams.
These were two very intense days of intercultural exchange and growth for pharmacologists studying pain. Nevertheless for Katarzyna it was also two days of flashback to the years she had spent in Naples.