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Michael Caterina, M.D., Ph.D.

Michael Jerry Caterina, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Michael Caterina, M.D., Ph.D.

Solomon H. Snyder Professor

Professor of Neurosurgery

Research Interests: TRP channel function in thermosensation, pain and inflammation

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins University
725 North Wolfe St.
Biophysics 408
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 410-502-5457

Background

Dr. Michael J. Caterina is a professor of neurosurgery, biological chemistry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a sensory neurobiologist with a focus on the molecular basis of pain and temperature sensation.

Dr. Caterina and his colleagues discovered the first heat-gated ion channel—the capsaicin receptor TRPV1—and demonstrated that this protein is critical for the detection of painfully hot temperatures and for the augmented sensitivity to heat pain that follows tissue inflammation.

He is the inaugural director of the Neurosurgery Pain Research Institute and serves as the co-director of the biological chemistry graduate program at Johns Hopkins.

Current topics of interest in his lab at Johns Hopkins include: the respective contributions of different TRP channels to pain sensation, thermosensation, and thermoregulation; the roles of temperature-gated TRP channels in nonneuronal cells such as skin keratinocytes; and a novel form of activity-dependent plasticity in TRP channel signaling.

Dr. Caterina earned his bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University and subsequently the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He completed a fellowship in cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Caterina joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1999.

Dr. Caterina is one of the founding members of the Center for Sensory Biology. He leads the Johns Hopkins Medicine Brain Sciences Institute's Pain Working Group, which brings together investigators from multiple disciplines to enhance their understanding of pain mechanisms. His work has been recognized with a number of national and international awards, including the Patrick Wall Young Investigator Award from the International Association for the Study of Pain in 2005 and the Donlin M. Long Pain Service Award from the Johns Hopkins Blaustein Pain Research Program in 2013.

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Titles

  • Solomon H. Snyder Professor
  • Director, Neurosurgery Pain Research Institute
  • Co-Director, Biological Chemistry Graduate Program
  • Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Professor of Biological Chemistry
  • Professor of Neuroscience

Education

Degrees

  • M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland) (1995)
  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland) (1995)

Additional Training

University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, 1999, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

TRP channel function in thermosensation, pain, and inflammation

Dr. Caterina's lab studies the biological functions and biophysical characteristics of a group of ion channel proteins of the transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV) family: TRPV1, TRPV2, TRPV3 and TRPV4. These channels share the intriguing feature that they can be activated by warm or painfully hot temperatures, as well as by many nonthermal stimuli. For example, TRPV1, the founding member of this family, can be activated by painful heat (>42°C), by protons, or by pungent chemicals such as capsaicin. This channel is strongly expressed in nociceptive neurons and is essential for normal behavioral responses to noxious heat.

By examining these channels in recombinant and native systems, and taking advantage of knockout mice lacking one or more subtypes, Dr. Caterina and his team are dissecting the biological contributions of these channels to thermosensory and nonthermosensory processes in both neuronal and nonneuronal cells. They are also seeking to more broadly understand the biological and pathophysiological basis of chronic pain.

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Frizzled3 is required for the development of multiple axon tracts in the mouse central nervous system. Hua ZL, Jeon S, Caterina MJ, Nathans J. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 May 5. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24799694

Central terminal sensitization of TRPV1 by descending serotonergic facilitation modulates chronic pain. Kim YS, Chu Y, Han L, Li M, Li Z, Lavinka PC, Sun S, Tang Z, Park K, Caterina MJ, Ren K, Dubner R, Wei F, Dong X. Neuron. 2014 Feb 19;81(4):873-87. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.12.011. Epub 2014 Jan 23. PMID: 24462040

Boosting that tan with a bit of voltage. Caterina MJ. Channels (Austin). 2013 Nov 1;7(6):417. Epub 2013 Oct 2. Review. No abstract available. PMID: 24088950

The incidental pore: CaV1.2 and stem cell activation in quiescent hair follicles. Coulombe PA, Caterina MJ. Genes Dev. 2013 Jun 15;27(12):1315-7. doi: 10.1101/gad.223172.113. PMID: 23788620

Expression and distribution of TRPV2 in rat brain. Nedungadi TP, Dutta M, Bathina CS, Caterina MJ, Cunningham JT. Exp Neurol. 2012 Sep;237(1):223-37. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2012.06.017. Epub 2012 Jun 27. PMID: 22750329

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry

Activities & Honors

Honors

  • Donlin M. Long Pain Service Award, Blaustein Pain Treatment Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Cancer Society, 1996 - 1999
  • Patrick D. Wall Young Investigator Award, International Association for the Study of Pain, 2005
  • Freedman Award Honorable Mention, NARSAD, 2001
  • Young Investigator Award, National Alliance For Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, 1996 - 1998
  • Evan Pugh Scholar, The Pennsylvania State University, 1987
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, U.C.S.F. Cardiovascular Research Institute, 1995 - 1996
  • Keith Killam Memorial Award in Receptor Pharmacology, Western Pharmacology Society, 2000
  • Medical Scientist Training Program Grant, NIH, 1987 - 1995
  • McGraw Hill Publishing Medical Student Award, 1988
  • Lange Publishing Medical Student Award, 1988
  • Franklin Paine Mall Award in Anatomy and Cell Biology, 1988
  • Medical Honor Society, Alpha Omega Alpha , 1995
  • Medical Student Award, Gate Pharmaceuticals , 1995
  • Searle Scholars Program, 2001
  • Beckman Young Investigator, 2001
  • Distinguished Young Scholar in Medical Research, W. M. Keck Foundation , 2001

Memberships

  • American Pain Society, 2002
    Member
  • International Association for Pain Research, 2002
    Member
  • Society for Neuroscience, 2001
    Member

Professional Activities

  • Admissions Committee, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2004
    M.D.-Ph.D. Program
  • Admissions Committee, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2000
    Biological Chemistry Graduate Program
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Neuroscience, 2007
  • Co-Director, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2003
    Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry
  • Deputy Editor, Molecular Pain, 2005
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Neuropathic Pain and Symptom Palliation, 2004
  • M.A., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2003
    Ph.D. Committee
  • Steering Committee, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2004
    Neuroscience Graduate Program

Videos & Media

Hot and Spicy, Part I

Michael Caterina discusses how we sense pain and why chili peppers burn.

Hot and Spicy, Part II

Michael Caterina discusses how we sense pain and why chili peppers burn.

Hot and Spicy, Part III

Michael Caterina discusses how we sense pain and why chili peppers burn.

Hot and Spicy, Part IV

Michael Caterina discusses how we sense pain and why chili peppers burn.

Michael Caterina - The History of the TRP Channel

Johns Hopkins scientist Michael Caterina tells about the history of the TRP channel.

Doorways to Discovery: Neurosurgical Pain Research Institute-To Control, Prevent, and Eliminate Pain

Michael Caterina M.D., Ph.D., and Allan Belzberg, M.D., co-directors of The Neurosurgery Pain Research Institute at Johns Hopkins To control, prevent, and eliminate pain, discuss research initiates underway of neurosurgical-related pain including translational research with DREZ lesions and how nociceptors process pain.

Lectures and Presentations

  • European Neuroscience Association Satellite Meeting on Peripheral Mechanisms of Pain Sensation , Berlin, Germany (07/01/1998)
  • Japanese Biochemical Society Annual Meeting , Nagoya, Japan (10/01/1998)
  • American Pain Society Annual Meeting , San Diego, CA (11/01/1998)
  • Ion channels in Nociception Meeting , San Francisco, CA (01/01/1999)
  • Duke University Department of Cell Biology , Durham, NC (01/01/1999)
  • University of Wisconsin Department of Physiology , Madison, WI (01/01/1999)
  • Harvard Medical School Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology , Boston, MA (01/01/1999)
  • Harvard University Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology , Cambridge, MA (01/01/1999)
  • University of Chicago Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences , Chicago, IL (01/01/1999)
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Biological Chemistry , Baltimore, MD (01/01/1999)
  • Ohio State University Department of Neuroscience , Columbus, OH (01/01/1999)
  • As Assistant Professor Pulmonary Research Service , Baltimore, MD (02/01/2000)
    Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • Blaustein Pain Research Center , Baltimore, MD (02/01/2000)
    Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery , Baltimore, MD (11/01/2000)
    Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy , Baltimore, MD (04/01/2000)
    Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • Spring Pain Research Conference , Cayman Islands (05/01/2000)
  • Merck Research Laboratories , Rahway, NJ (07/01/2000)
  • American Pain Society Annual Meeting , Atlanta, GA (10/01/2000)

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Collaborating to Control, Prevent and Eliminate Pain, Doorways to Discovery (November 2014)

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