Video: UW-Green Bay Prof. Todd Hillhouse’s novel research honored with a 2022 Regent Scholar Award

Assistant Professor Todd Hillhouse (Psychology) was one of three faculty members across the UW System to receive a 2022 Regent Scholar Award from the UW System for distinction in research, innovation and entrepreneurship, this week. His work was recognized and honored by the UW System Board of Regents Research, Economic Development, and Innovation (REDI) Committee, April 7, 2022.

Hillhouse works with undergraduate student researchers on discovering a non-addictive psychopharmacological treatment for pain inside the PANE Lab at UW-Green Bay. His proposal to the Regent Scholar program, “Targeting Nociceptin and Kappa Opioid Receptors for Treatment of Cocaine Addiction and Depression,” has been approved and funded.

The program, which was introduced in 2014, is designed to stimulate faculty-student collaborative research.

“The UW System Regent Scholar winners receive prestigious, one-time grants recognizing the highest honor for faculty achievement in the areas of undergraduate research, entrepreneurship, and business engagement,” said Regent Robert Atwell, chair of the Board’s Research, Economic Development, and Innovation (REDI) Committee, which administers the Regent Scholar grants. “These innovative projects and research collaborations hold tremendous potential for helping people and communities.”

Pain and Addiction Research by Todd Hillhouse Video Transcript: 

At the PANE Lab here at UW-Green Bay we focus on pain and addiction research. We have a line of research that’s focused on developing novel treatments for pain, acute and chronic pain. We also look at the interaction between addiction and mood disorders, specifically depression. And we’re trying to develop drugs that could be used for both addiction and major depressive disorder.

Pain is one of the most debilitating disorders we have worldwide. We are trying to find novel treatments for pain that do not have the same addiction liability or the respiratory depression. One way we can do this is by targeting different spots on the opioid receptor or looking at a whole neurotransmitter system altogether.

Conducting research in the pain field it really excites me. I’m excited to look at novel pain treatments because we might be able to help a population that currently isn’t being treated for their pain and we can also hopefully treat these people without pushing them towards addiction which we see with the normal traditional opioid drugs. Being able to find a novel treatment for pain would make me really grateful to be able to help the people that are currently not being helped because of the unwanted side effects of the current treatments.

The research experience that the students gain in my lab will help them as they move forward in their career. It’s a great way to prepare them for graduate school if they’re interested in attending graduate school which most students are that join the lab. It also sets them up for a career in biomedical sciences, a career that requires intellectual ability, critical thinking, and it really helps them understand the process of science as they move forward.

See a previous feature about Prof. Hillhouse and his inspiring RISE story… from a high school student without college even on his horizon, to holding a doctorate in Biopsychology and his mentorship, helping students to “learn to be successful in life.”

Also receiving the award:

John Chan, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, UW Oshkosh, A Novel Chemotherapy to Treat Parasitic Flatworms Causing Human and Animal Disease

Mark Levenstein, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, UW-Platteville, Aryl Fluorinated Ethers to Develop the Next Generation of Agrochemicals

Video by Sue Pischke, Marketing and University Communication



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