Wayland Cheng, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of anesthesiology, has received the 2021 Frontiers in Anesthesia Research Award from the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS). The prestigious $750,000 award, which is given only once every three years to a single awardee, funds projects with an eye toward developing future leaders in the field of anesthesiology.

Honorees’ projects must be relevant to anesthesiology and play a critical role in the scientific evolution of a novel concept. Cheng’s project focuses on the transient receptor potential melastatin-3 (TRPM3), an ion channel in neurons that plays a critical role in pathological pain. Compounds that interfere with TRPM3 have been shown to produce pain relief without significant adverse effects, suggesting it is a promising target for new analgesics.

The award will fund research on the structure of TRPM3 to identify small molecules that bind to and regulate the channel, with the aim of developing novel, safer treatments for pain.

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