University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine - Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program
Dr. Saloman's lab is focused on studying how the peripheral nervous system regulates normal organ function as well as its roles in painful disease and responses to injury. The lab uses a variety of in vitro and in vivo approaches including anatomy, molecular biology, behavior, imaging, omics, optogenetics, and flow cytometry to investigate cell-cell communication. We use a variety of animal models as well as clinical specimens to investigate how cell communication between neurons, immune cells, and pancreatic exocrine cells drive pancreatitis pain, the primary debilitating symptom associated with this disease. A second focus of the lab is to understand the mechanisms underlying neural regulation of cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death, partially because of poor therapeutic responses as well as lack of tools for early detection. We have demonstrated that peripheral nerves exhibit plasticity early in the disease process and that ablation of sensory neurons is sufficient to slow pancreatic tumor growth. We are now exploring how specific proteins expressed on neurons regulate tumor cells, anti-tumor immunity, and cancer pain with the goal of identifying novel signaling pathways that can be targeted therapeutically. We have active basic and translational research projects focused on pancreas function, visceral pain, cancer pain, and tumorigenesis. We welcome curious and motivated researchers from all backgrounds and identities to join the team.