PhD Defence Sonny Sliepen, Grünenthal and University of Copenhagen

On March 29 2019, the Early Stage Researcher Sonny HJ Sliepen defended his PhD as part of the BonePain network at University of Copenhagen (Denmark). His assessment committee was composed of Dr Nick Andrews, from Boston Children´s Hospital, Harvard Medical School (USA), Associate Professor Christina Brock, Aalborg University Hospital (Denmark) and chairman Associate Professor Trine Meldgaard Lund, University of Copenhagen (Denmark). Sonny´s PhD was supervised by Dr Kris Rutten, Grünenthal (Germnay) and co-supervised by Associate Professor Anne-Marie Heegaard, University of Copenhagen (Denmark).

Sonny defended his thesis, titled “The role of the nociception/Orphanin FQ system in an animal model of cancer-induced bone pain” where he describes the establishment of a rat model of bone cancer pain at Grünenthal.

His thesis focuses on the nociception/orphanin FQ system as a novel target for the treatment of cancer-induced bone pain, a serious condition with limited treatment avenues that impairs the quality of life of cancer patients. As pre-clinical research of this condition progresses, there is a clear need for ethologically relevant behavioural tests assessing the well-being of rodent models of the disease. In this context, Sonny´s work involved the characterization of the burrowing test for the evaluation of cancer-induced bone pain in rodents.

While enrolled at the University of Copenhagen, Sonny conducted his PhD at the industrial partner Grünenthal in Aachen (Germany) and carried out long-term exchanges at the University of Copenhagen. During his PhD, Sonny has gained extensive knowledge regarding the establishment of animal models, behavioural testing and immunohistochemistry, among others.

Sonny´s work has led to three peer-reviewed scientific publications that provide an important insight into novel behavioural tests and targets for the treatment of cancer-induced bone pain. We are exciting to follow his upcoming career!

After his thesis defence, Sonny hosted a reception at University of Copenhagen where friends and family from Netherlands and Copenhagen celebrated his PhD.

Above: Nick Andrews, Sonny Sliepen, Christina Brock and Trine Meldgaard Lund.