D.P. Mohapatra, Ph.D.

Job Title
Program Director
Photo of Dr. D.P. Mohapatra, Program Director, Pain Itch and Somatosensation
Division of Neuroscience
Systems & Cognitive Neuroscience
Areas of Interest

Peripheral & central mechanisms underlying pain and itch; Models and assessment of pain and itch; Translational pain and itch Research; Pain management; Peripheral and spinal mechanisms of somatosensation; Glia/microglia biology; Communication between sensory and non-sensory systems in pain, itch and somatosensation.

Contact Email
Contact Number

Dr. D.P. Mohapatra joined NINDS in 2019 as a Program Director in Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience. He oversees a portfolio that includes multiple forms of pain; peripheral & central mechanisms underlying pain and itch processing under physiological and pathological conditions; animal models and behavioral assessment of pain and itch; peripheral and spinal mechanisms of somatosensation; neurobiology of glia & microglia, including neuro-immune interactions; communication between sensory and non-sensory systems in pain, itch and somatosensation; back-translational and translational research on pain, itch and glia/microglia, and pain management.

Prior to joining NINDS, Dr. Mohapatra was a tenured Associate Professor of Anesthesiology in Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and prior to that he was a tenured Associate Professor of Pharmacology at The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. During his academic career, he established multiple NIH- and DoD-funded research programs on peripheral mechanisms and models of inflammatory, cancer and neuropathic pain, as well as on translational pain research. His research utilized multidisciplinary approach, and simultaneous assessment of transcriptomic, molecular, biophysical, cellular and histological characterization of rodent and human sensory neurons and skin/tissue biopsies under physiological and painful conditions. He also established novel mouse models of neuropathic and cancer pain pathologies, and new/modified voluntary pain-associated behavioral outcome measures in mice, as well as their pharmacological validations. Dr. Mohapatra mentored several undergraduate & graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom currently hold faculty positions at reputed academic institutions. During his academic career as a faculty, he extensively taught different neuroscience and pharmacology-related topics to undergraduate, graduate and medical students. His post-doctoral training at the University of California at Davis focused on sub-cellular trafficking/localization and functions of Kv channels in mammalian brain neurons, and their contribution to neuroprotection in epileptic seizures and stroke injury conditions. He earned his Doctorate in Human Biology from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Faculty of Medicine (Germany), where his studies focused on understanding how modifications in TRPV1 and Nav channel functions contribute to inflammatory pain signal transduction.