Center for Clinical Pharmacology

Amynah Pradhan, PhD, Director of the Center


Amynah Pradhan, PhD, is the director for the Center for Clinical Pharmacology. She is a neuroscientist who has worked extensively in the pain, migraine, and opioid fields. Dr. Pradhan received her PhD in Pharmacology and Therapeutics from McGill University, under the supervision of Paul Clarke.  She then did an industry fellowship at AstraZeneca Montreal for a year. Dr. Pradhan then went on to a postdoctoral fellowship with Brigitte Kieffer at the IGBMC (Institut de Génétique, Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire) in Strasbourg France, followed by another fellowship with Christopher Evans at UCLA. Dr. Pradhan started her own lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013, and was a faculty with tenure there until moving to the Center for Clinical Pharmacology in 2022.

A major focus of Dr. Pradhan’s research is to understand the role of opioid receptors in trigeminovascular and peripheral pain states. She led the first group to develop a novel preclinical model of chronic migraine pain, and this model is now being used as a screening tool in both academic and industry labs. Dr. Pradhan also identified the delta opioid receptor as a novel therapeutic target for headache disorders. This work has led to the development of a novel delta agonist for migraine, which is entering Phase II clinical trial. Ongoing studies in her lab are centered on how delta opioid receptors regulate headache disorders and associated symptoms.  Dr. Pradhan’s group is also studying overlapping mechanisms between chronic migraine and opioid induced hyperalgesia (OIH), and she has used transcriptomic and peptidomic approaches to identify links between these disorders. Additionally, Dr. Pradhan’s is interested in identifying the molecular mechanisms that contribute to migraine chronicity, including analysis of neuronal complexity and cytoskeletal dynamics. The Pradhan lab also has an ongoing interest in the in vivo consequences of ligand bias at the delta opioid receptor, with an aim to develop therapeutics with fewer adverse effects. Dr. Pradhan is interested in translating in vitro findings to animal behavioral models, with the ultimate goal of translating those results to clinical applications, particularly for the treatment of neuropsychiatric conditions.