After Dr. Luis Fernando Ferrari got D.D.S. degree from the School of Dentistry in the University of Sao Paulo in 1996, he worked in his own office, in Brazil, performing general dentistry, oral surgery and temporomandibular joint dysfunction/orofacial pain treatment. However, to learn and understand more about pain physiology and pharmacology, he went to the Medical School in the University of São Paulo at Ribeirao Preto. There, at the Department of Pharmacology, he got his Masters and Ph.D. in Pharmacology/Neuroscience, researching the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the generation and maintenance of pain, and therapeutic strategies for treatment. He also worked as a Professor of Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Neurophysiology of Pain in the School of Dentistry in University of Sao Paulo at Ribeirao Preto, and was part of the team of Professors in the Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction and Orofacial Pain Specialization Course for several years, teaching and supervising students of the School of Dentistry in the clinic. Currently, he is working in the University of California at San Francisco, as a Research Pharmacologist, investigating the mechanisms involved in the transition from acute to chronic pain, as well as the neural basis of the chronic pain induced by inflammation, stress and as side effect of therapeutic drugs.
His current research focuses the investigation of the cellular/molecular mechanisms involved in the neuronal painful sensitization, using pre-clinical models. Behavior methods, along with pharmacological tools and interventions to analyze the role of specific genes in nociceptor function, are used in my studies to demonstrate the neuronal processes involved in acute and chronic pain. At this moment, my projects investigate the molecular and cellular signaling pathways that participate in the development and/or maintenance of nociceptor sensitization and in the transition from acute to chronic pain. In parallel, the role of sexual dimorphism in the development of pain induced by chronic use of opioids has also been part of my studies. He believes that his experience with different animal behavior models allows him to better understand the neurophysiology of pain, which might contribute for the development of more specific pharmacological therapies.