Frank L. Rice, PhD, President and Chief Scientist
Dr. Rice has over 35 years of experience in somatosensory system biology beginning with doctoral studies of cerebral cortex development under the mentorship of Dr. Hendrik Van der Loos at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In the mid-1980's, Dr. Rice's interests shifted to cutaneous innervation beginning with classic reduced-silver preparations which were state-of-the-art at the time and transitioning into multi-label immunochemical assessments during several years as a visiting professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. His research has been characterized by extensive collaborations with investigators at over 30 academic centers and pharmaceutical companies. The research has emphasized:
- Multi-species assessments of normal adult and developing innervation. These have included such diverse species as a variety of rodents (including African Naked-Mole Rats), marsupials, carnivores, manatees, monkeys, and humans.
- Multi-molecular studies of trophic factors that control the development and maintenance of cutaneous innervation. These studies have included the NGF and GDNF families of neurotrophic factors and transforming growth factors.
- Multi-disease studies in monkeys and humans, and related experimental paradigms in subprimate species. These studies have included postherpetic neuralgia, complex regional pain syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, chemotaxic neuropathy, scleroderma, nerve constriction injury, and inflammation.
As a result of this research, Dr. Rice has emerged as one of the world's leading authorities on skin innervation, vascular organization, and more recently, epidermal chemistry. Major research contributions include:
- The detailed organization of the cutaneous microvasculature and strategic positioning of several associated varieties of vascular sensory and autonomic innervation.
- The stratified neurochemical organization among the epidermal kerotinocytes and the likely role of the keratinocytes in sensory processing and integration. These discoveries include the elucidation of endogenous analgesic mechanisms within the keratinocytes.
- Detailed elucidation of pathological changes in the chemistry, structure and distribution of cutaneous innervation, and changes in keratinocyte chemistry associated with human neuropathic pain.
The result of these discoveries are the basis of Intidyn's emphasis of studying normal and diseased skin as an integrated, muti-system entity. This approach is applicable to other tissues as well.
Dr. Rice is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the State University of New York at Albany. He was previously a Professor in the Center for Neuropharamcology and Neuroscience at Albany Medical College for 33 years and on the faculty of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has a BS in Biology from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA, and a PhD in Anatomy from Johns Hopkins University.
Phillip J. Albrecht, PhD, Vice-President and Deputy Chief Scientist
Dr. Albrecht has 20 years of experience in biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry and academic research settings. During the early 1990's as a member of the neurotoxicology department at Genentech, Inc., Dr. Albrecht performed behavioral and sensory neurotoxicology and safety research studies, monitored contract lab toxicology study reports, and wrote documents in support of FDA submissions.
While conducting dissertation research at Penn State Hershey, Dr. Albrecht was focused on the molecular mechanisms of glial scar formation following disease and trauma. The work included genomic (RNA) and protein characterizations using standard molecular techniques, including extensive immunofluorescent microscope evaluations.
Dr. Albrecht received post-doctoral training at Georgetown University, where he developed a novel in vitro assay of primary fibroblast and astrocyte interaction. Using this model, investigations of the molecular mechanisms of scar formation were conducted, including multi-label immunochemical assessments of the Eph/ephrin signaling system.
In 2003, Dr. Albrecht relocated to Albany where he received additional training at the Center for Neuropharmacology & Neuroscience, focused on descending pain modulatory pathways and peripheral sensory systems. In 2005, Dr. Albrecht became an active research and teaching faculty member of the CNN. Working directly with Intidyn co-founder Dr. Frank Rice, his research has been instrumental to the understanding of peripheral mechanisms of chronic pain, and have been essential to the generation of novel views on theories of pain perception emerging from this research hub.
Implementing a translational research platform, Dr. Albrecht has been involved with projects utilizing cultured cells, rodents, monkeys, and humans to investigate cutaneous peripheral innervation and functional neural interactions with target compartments.
The research of Dr. Albrecht has highlighted specific pathologies from painful skin related to:
- small caliber sensory innervation to the epidermis and interactions with epidermal keratinocyte chemistry and Langerhans cell function.
- morphologic and molecular aberrations of small caliber sensory and sympathetic innervation to dermal vasculature, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
- sensory stimulus transduction and integration among epidermal keratinocytes, vascular adventitia, muscle, and endothelium, sweat glands, and hair follicle compartments.
Dr. Albrecht holds a BS in psychology (1991) and a PhD in neuroscience (2001), both from the Pennsylvania State University.