Arkady Khoutorsky (Award in Pain Recipient) earned a B.Sc. in biology and an M.Sc. in neurobiology, as well as D.V.M. and Ph.D. degrees, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University, Khoutorsky investigated how regulation of protein synthesis controls neuronal plasticity in the brain and in the pain pathway. He joined McGill’s Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain in 2016. In addition to the Rita Allen Foundation, Khoutorsky’s work is supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and by a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant and a Louise and Alan Edwards Foundation Grant in Chronic Pain Research.
Khoutorsky’s lab is examining how neuronal circuits in the spinal cord are remodeled to promote sensitivity to pain. He is interested in the extracellular matrix, a network of proteins that surrounds neurons. In the brain, this matrix appears to restrict the ability of neurons to form the new structures necessary for learning and memory. Enzymes that degrade the matrix are activated in some chronic pain conditions. Khoutorsky and his team are investigating how such degradation impacts spinal cord neurons that normally inhibit pain signals. They aim to determine how changes in the extracellular matrix might enable the neurons to become “hyperexcitable” and inappropriately propagate pain.