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Paul Durham - Missouri State University. Springfield, MO, US

Paul Durham

Distinguished Professor, Cell Biology | Missouri State University

Springfield, MO, United-States

Dr. Durham’s research is directed at understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms in models of migraine, TMJ disorder and epilepsy.








Dr. Paul Durham is Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology at Missouri State University and Director of its Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences, a multidisciplinary laboratory that utilizes cellular/molecular, microbiological, biochemical and chemical techniques.

A primary goal of his research is to determine the signaling pathways by which inflammatory and anti-inflammatory agents control neuropeptide gene expression in disorders involving the trigeminal nerve.

Currently, he is studying the regulation of protein expression in cultured nerve and glial cells, human cell lines, in vivo animal models and clinical studies. A major focus of his research has been to elucidate the cellular/molecular mechanisms by which novel drugs and nutraceuticals modulate the excitability state of neurons and glial cells under pathological conditions in models of migraine, TMJ disorder and epilepsy. More recently, his laboratory has been investigating epigenetic mechanisms and changes in gut microbiota in response to changes in diet, sleep pattern, stress and chronic inflammation.

Dr. Durham is frequently invited as a guest lecturer. He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed research articles and more than 100 abstracts. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Headache Society, the American Pain Society and the American Academy of Orofacial Pain. In addition, he has served on numerous study sections for the National Institutes of Health, as well as pharmaceutical company advisory boards, and is currently a reviewer for more than 10 journals.

Industry Expertise (2)

Research Education/Learning

Areas of Expertise (13)

Science Biology Molecular Biology Health Cell Biology Life Sciences Neuroscience Chronic Pain Inflammation Migraines Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) Fluorescence Microscopy

Accomplishments (7)

Patents (professional)

Dr. Durham is an author of 16 patents

Excellence in Teaching Award (professional)

Missouri Board of Governor’s

Foundation Award in Teaching (professional)

Missouri State University

Foundation Award in Research (professional)

2016, 2010, 2007
Missouri State University

Atwood Research and Teaching Award (professional)

Missouri State University

Service Award (professional)

College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Missouri State University

Excellence In Innovation Award (professional)

Awarded by Allergan

Education (3)

University of Iowa: Ph.D., Anatomy and Cell Biology 1994

University of Iowa: M.S., Plant Biochemistry 1989

St. Ambrose University: B.S., Biology/Philosophy 1984

Affiliations (6)

  • Society for Neuroscience : Member
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science : Member
  • American Headache Society : Member
  • American Pain Society : Member
  • American Academy of Orofacial Pain: Executive Committee Member
  • Frontiers, Neurology: Editorial Board Member

Media Appearances (5)

When gene manipulation is warranted

Joplin Independent  online


The human spirit or heart can trump bad genes. That's one of the conclusions reached by Paul Durham, Ph.D, pictured, Missouri State University Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology. He spoke at The Moxie in Springfield on April 12, 2016, after a showing of the movie Gattaca...

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Studies clenching the sources of chronic pain

Missouri State University News  online


Everyone would like to walk through life pain-free. Instead, many people live with chronic pain conditions. Dr. Paul Durham, Missouri State University distinguished professor of biology and director of the Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences, researches factors that instigate chronic pain and tests products that might work to alleviate these pain states...

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Chicken soup may be good for more than the soul

Missouri State University News  online


Along with Dr. Paul Durham, distinguished professor of biology and director of the CBLS in the Jordan Valley Innovation Center, she is conducting research on International Dehydrated Foods’ chicken broth products and their relationship to inflammation and pain. This research has been funded by several grants from IDF totaling more than $100,000...

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Why Chocolate Studies Are a Headache

ABC News  online


"The human body might crave things because we know it will alleviate [pain]," said Paul Durham, director of the Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences at Missouri State University and author of the study on cocoa powder preventing cellular inflammation in rats. "When we tried to stimulate the [pain] nerves, compounds or chemicals in cocoa might block that pain."...

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Science on Screen: Interview with Dr. Paul Durham on Gattaca

Science and Film  online


Andrew Niccol’s film GATTACA is more relevant in 2016 than it was when it was released in 1997. Parents can choose the genes they want their children to have, and children whose genes have not been modified are forever at a disadvantage. Before being hired for a job or choosing with whom to procreate it is normal to get the person’s genome sequenced. This society does not seem so far-fetched. We have the technology to sequence a genome for under $1,000 and edit it in humans using CRISPR. Science & Film spoke with cellular and molecular biologist Dr. Paul Durham from Missouri State University on July 7, 2016.

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Minds-Eye (1)

Seeking treatment for brain’s ‘perfect storm’

Research isn’t all about microscopes and test tubes. It’s about helping people. Dr. Paul Durham’s lab at the Jordan Valley Innovation Center is paving the way and discovering new interventions for those experiencing intense, chronic pain ...

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Articles (10)

Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha Stimulates Cytokine Expression and Transient Sensitization of Trigeminal Nociceptive Neurons Archives of Oral Biology


Elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor- alpha (TNF-α) in the capsule of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are implicated in the underlying pathology of temporomandibular disorders (TMD). TMD are a group of conditions that result in pain in the TMJ and/or muscles of mastication, and are associated with significant social and economic burdens. The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of elevated TNF-α levels in the TMJ capsule on nocifensive behavioral response to mechanical stimulation of trigeminal neurons and regulation of cytokines within the trigeminal ganglion.

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Effects of cocoa-enriched diet on orofacial pain in a murine model Orthodontics & Craniofacial Research


This paper investigates and discusses the effects of cocoa on orofacial pain.

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Prolonged Jaw Opening Promotes Nociception and Enhanced Cytokine Expression Journal of Oral Facial Pain Headache


The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that prolonged jaw opening, as can occur during routine dental procedures, increases nociceptive sensitivity of the masseter muscle and increases cytokine expression.

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Diverse Physiological Roles of Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide in Migraine Pathology: Modulation of Neuronal-Glial-Immune Cells to Promote Peripheral and Central Sensitization Current Pain and Headache Reports


The neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is implicated in the underlying pathology of migraine by promoting the development of a sensitized state of primary and secondary nociceptive neurons. The ability of CGRP to initiate and maintain peripheral and central sensitization is mediated by modulation of neuronal, glial, and immune cells in the trigeminal nociceptive signaling pathway. There is accumulating evidence to support a key role of CGRP in promoting cross excitation within the trigeminal ganglion that may help to explain the high co-morbidity of migraine with rhinosinusitis and temporomandibular joint disorder

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Elevated Levels of Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide in Upper Spinal Cord Promotes Sensitization of Primary Trigeminal Nociceptive Neurons Neuroscience


Orofacial pain conditions including temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and migraine are characterized by peripheral and central sensitization of trigeminal nociceptive neurons. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in promoting bidirectional signaling within the trigeminal system to mediate sensitization of primary nociceptive neurons.

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Nicotine Stimulates Expression of Proteins Implicated in Peripheral and Central Sensitization Neuroscience


The goal of this study was to determine the effects of prolonged nicotine administration on inflammatory proteins implicated in the development of peripheral and central sensitization of the trigeminal system.

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The Role of Salivary Neuropeptides in Pediatrics: Potential Biomarkers for Integrated Therapies European Journal of Integrative Medicine


Objective measures of symptom response to integrated complementary approaches in pediatrics are evolving. The purpose of this study was to document the concentration range of salivary neuropeptides in healthy controls and in children with cancer, to explore correlations between serum and salivary measurements for Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) and Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP), and to determine whether there is a change in these salivary neuropeptide levels in response to integrated mind-body therapies.

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Unprecedented Silver Resistance in Clinically Isolated Enterobacteriaceae: Major Implications for Burn and Wound Management Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy


Increased utilization of inorganic silver as an adjunctive to many medical devices has raised concerns of emergent silver resistance in clinical bacteria. Although the molecular basis for silver resistance has been previously characterized, to date, significant phenotypic expression of these genes in clinical settings is yet to be observed. Here, we identified the first strains of clinical bacteria expressing silver resistance at a level that could significantly impact wound care and the use of silver-based dressings.

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Eggshell membrane hydrolyzates activate NF-κB in vitro: possible implications for in vivo efficacy Journal of Inflammation Research


Eggshell membrane (ESM) has been shown to contain naturally occurring bioactive components, and biological activities such as reducing proinflammatory cytokines, liver fibrosis, and joint pain in osteoarthritis sufferers have also been reported for ESM matrix as a whole. Nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B-cells (NF-κB) is a signaling protein found in the cytoplasm of nearly all human and animal cell types and is a primary regulator of immune function. The studies reported herein were designed to investigate the possible role that NF-κB activity might play in the reported biological activities of ESM.

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Chronic Migraine: Diagnosis and Management Headache and Migraine Biology and Management