SvensssonCamillaFotoErikThorETO_980

Photo: Erik Thor/SUA

About Camilla's research

Chronic pain is a major burden on the life of sufferers and society as a whole. While our understanding of the condition is progressing, adequate therapies are still lacking and millions of people are living with persistent debilitating pain that has no discernable function.

One promising avenue in pain research in recent years has been the role of neuroinflammation in the peripheral and the central nervous system, where the communication between immune cells and neurons now is known to be a vital driver of chronic pain. However, while these new insights bring us closer to potential new drug treatments, the field is currently lacking the answers to a few vital questions. We are addressing some of those by focusing our work on pain mechanisms in conditions with joint inflammation and autoimmunity, such as rheumatoid arthritis. We are asking if autoantibodies and B-cells directly activate pain neurons. Does long-term inflammation located in the joint have “nerve damaging” effects? When focusing on the central nervous system we are exploring how microglia and astrocytes respond in different pain states. Do they mediate both pro- and anti-inflammatory cascades? And are they able to maintain molecular memory of previous insults, which might then affect their responses during a chronic pain state? Be decipher these types of questions we hope to advance our understanding of how chronic pain is mediated and identify novel targets for pain relief.

I was the Chair of the Young Academy of Sweden 2016–2017.

In brief

Born: 1973
Family: Husband and stepdaughter
Interests: Outdoor life, spending as much time as possible in nature, preferably by mountain biking or hiking. We enjoy travelling, experiencing new places, cultures, and food, and we almost always have a new destination in sight. Also enjoy transporting myself to new environments and different times through books.
Other: Lived in San Diego, California for 10 years, where I did my PhD and postdoc. I am a spinning instructor at Friskis & Svettis.

I chose to become a researcher largely because I love delving into the small details, but over the years it has become increasingly important for me to also engage in the bigger contexts. The Young Academy of Sweden gives me the platform I have been searching for to be able to see and create connections between researchers and between research and society. Being able to participate in shaping the conditions for future research gives me hope, and a new kind of energy.

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