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Search Program Faculty/Research

Armen Akopian, Ph.D.

Akopian photo


The management of pain represents a major scientific and health care challenge. The Institute of Medicine reports that: “Sex matters. ….”. It is now recognized that pain is a sex-dependent phenomenon. 

A main research interest of Dr. Armen Akopian's lab is uncovering the mechanisms of action of pituitary hormones in relation to sex-dependent regulation of the pain pathway. Current projects are investigating (1) how prolactin (PRL) controls pain in chronic pathological conditions in males and females, (2) how PRL modulates neurotransmission, and (3) how the TRPV1-TRPA1 complex regulates pain in pathological conditions.

Immune-mediated pulmonary diseases are chronic debilitating conditions, affecting millions. Unfortunately, the number of people with these conditions continues to grow. The environment increasingly contributes to this grim picture. Along with studying the interplay of hormones with the pain pathway, the lab’s second interest is focused on understanding how the nervous system mediates environmental effects on the immune system.

The lab uses a multidisciplinary research approach that includes electrophysiology, behavioral physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, biochemistry and cell biology.

Selected Publications

Weng HJ, Patel KN, Jeske NA, Bierbower SM, Zou W, Tiwari V, Zheng Q, Tang Z, Mo GC, Wang Y, Geng Y, Zhang J, Guan Y, Akopian AN, Dong X. Tmem100 Is a Regulator of TRPA1-TRPV1 Complex and Contributes to Persistent Pain Neuron. 2015 Feb 18;85(4):833-46

Patil MJ, Henry MA, Akopian ANProlactin receptor in regulation of neuronal excitability and channels. Channels. 2014;8(3):193-202.

Belugin S, Diogenes AR, Patil MJ, Ginsburg E, Henry MA, Akopian AN. Mechanisms of transient signaling via short and long prolactin receptor isoforms in female and male sensory neurons. J Biol Chem. 2013 Nov 29;288(48):34943-55.

Patil MJ, Ruparel SB, Henry MA, Akopian AN. Prolactin regulates TRPV1, TRPA1, and TRPM8 in sensory neurons in a sex-dependent manner: Contribution of prolactin receptor to inflammatory pain. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Nov 1;305(9):E1154-64.

Patil MJ, Green DP, Henry MA, Akopian AN. Sex-dependent roles of prolactin and prolactin receptor in postoperative pain and hyperalgesia in mice. Neuroscience. 2013 Dec 3;253:132-41.

Patil MJ, Jeske NA, Akopian AN. Transient receptor potential V1 regulates activation and modulation of transient receptor potential A1 by Ca2+. Neuroscience. 2010 Dec 29;171(4):1109-19.

Staruschenko A, Jeske NA, Akopian AN. Contribution of TRPV1-TRPA1 interaction to the single channel properties of the TRPA1 channel. J Biol Chem. 2010 May 14;285(20):15167-77.

Salas MM, Hargreaves KM, Akopian AN. TRPA1-mediated responses in trigeminal sensory neurons: interaction between TRPA1 and TRPV1. Eur J Neurosci. 2009 Apr;29(8):1568-78.

Associate Professor


Ph.D., Molecular Neuroscience, Institute of Molecular Biology, Moscow, 1994

M.S., Biochemistry/Biophysics, Moscow State University, Moscow, 1989

B.S., Solid State Physics, Armenia State University, Yerevan, 1986



Phone: (210) 567-6668

Research Profile
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Graduate Students

Mayur Patil
IMGP/Pharmacology (Ph.D.)