Portrait of  Sam Bourne

Sam Bourne

Research Student


Research Topic: Characterising genetic variants associated with pain to improve the clinical translation of novel therapies.


BSc (Hons) Pharmacology (University of Southampton)
MSc Genetic Manipulation & Molecular Cell Biology (University of Sussex)


2018 - Chancellors Masters Scholarship 
2020 - Industrial Fellow of the Royal Commission for the exhibition of 1851

Research interests

The clinical translation of novel pain therapies has been poor, with many failing due to a lack of efficacy. As such pain has become an area of high unmet medical need, with existing treatments that do not fully alleviate chronic or neuropathic pain symptoms and associated side effects that cause societal issues including the opioid crisis. Novel first-in-class therapies are required, with approaches to drug development that focus on improving clinical translation.

This research will investigate and identify genetic variants within two-pore domain potassium channels (K2Ps), which are highly implicated in pain and represent a first-in-class therapeutic target. Variants within patients will be identified by exploring large scale genetic studies conducted over two decades. By generating these variants within cells and functionally characterising them, patient populations can be stratified and a translation link between genetics, cellular function and patient phenotype can be established. Novel K2P agonists development at LifeArc, will then be screened within these models to explore the translation of potential therapies targeting these ion channels. 


Supervisors: Professor Alistair Mathie and Dr Rachel Forfar

Research Group: Biological Sciences