Dr. Paul L. Durham


Role: Faculty
Campus: Springfield

Postal mail

Missouri State University
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65897


Dr. Paul Durham is distinguished professor of biology and director of Missouri State University's Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences, a multidisciplinary laboratory that utilizes cellular/molecular, microbiological, biochemical and chemical techniques. A primary goal of his research is to determine the signaling pathways by which inflammatory and anti-inflammatory agents control neuropeptide gene expression in disorders involving the trigeminal nerve.

Currently, he is studying the regulation of protein expression in cultured nerve and glial cells, human cell lines, in vivo animal models and clinical studies. A major focus of his research has been to elucidate the cellular/molecular mechanisms by which novel drugs and nutraceuticals modulate the excitability state of neurons and glial cells under pathological conditions in models of migraine, TMJ disorder and epilepsy. More recently, his laboratory has been investigating epigenetic mechanisms and changes in gut microbiota in response to changes in diet, sleep pattern, stress and chronic inflammation.

Durham is frequently invited as a guest lecturer. He has authored or co-authored 80 peer-reviewed research publications, numerous book chapters and technical reports, and 160 published abstracts. He has received nearly $14 million in external grants to support his research. In addition,  Durham has served on numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) study sections and advisory boards, and is currently a reviewer for 15 different journals. 



  • PhD, Anatomy and Cell Biology, 1994, University of Iowa
  • MS, Plant Biochemistry, 1989, University of Iowa
  • BS, Biology/Philosophy, 1984, St. Ambrose University


  • BIO 320 Molecular Cell Biology (lecture)
  • BIO 121 General Biology I (lecture)

Research and professional interests

  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide
  • Chronic pain
  • Gut health
  • Migraines
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder

Other interests

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: Member
  • American Headache Society: Member
  • American Pain Society: Member
  • American Academy of Orofacial Pain: Executive Committee Member
  • Frontiers, Neurology: Editorial Board Member
  • Society for Neuroscience: Member

Awards and honors

  • Author of 16 patents
  • Bronze Bear, Missouri State University, 2017
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Board of Governors, Missouri State University, 2017
  • Foundation Award in Teaching, Missouri State University, 2017
  • Foundation Award in Research, Missouri State University, 2016, 2010, 2007
  • Atwood Research and Teaching Award, Missouri State University, 2015
  • Service Award, College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Missouri State University, 2015  
  • Excellence in Innovation Award, Allergan, 2004

Additional resources

Areas of Expertise

Science Health and wellness

Media Appearances

Paul Durham, PhD: A Combination Approach With nVNS in Migraine

Scientist Dr. Paul Durham discusses the use of nVNS in migraine treatment.

Paul Durham, PhD: Noninvasive Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Scientist Dr. Paul Durham discusses the findings of a model of nVNS.

MSU Scientists Test New Device that Could Help End the Opioid Epidemic

Scientist Dr. Paul Durham shares about the research.

Reducing Opioid Use through VNS
KSMU Radio

Scientist Dr. Paul Durham shares how VNS helps with reducing dependence on opioids.

Personalized Nutrition & Gut Health: 5 Important Facts Worth Knowing

Scientist Dr. Paul Durham highlights the importance of gut health to overall health.

How Natural Substances Can Tip Scales in Favor of Your Health
KSMU Radio

Scientist Dr. Paul Durham shares why natural substances are good for your health.

Childhood Trauma and Chronic Pain: What's the Relationship?
KSMU Radio

Scientist Dr. Paul Durham explains the link between childhood trauma and chronic pain.

Natural Relief in Sight for Migraine Sufferers
KSMU Radio

Scientist Dr. Paul Durham shares how to treat migraines naturally.

When Gene Manipulation is Warranted
Joplin Independent

Scientist Dr. Paul Durham addresses gene manipulation.


JVIC Lab Looks for Ways to Alleviate Pain                                                           Maroon Minute: Paul Durham