Everyone understands the concept of pain, of how it registers as the personal experience of harm in one's own body. However, despite the near-universal appreciation for pain and its effects, surprisingly little is known about the mechanisms behind it. Dr Nobuko Ito, based in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Relief Center at the University of Tokyo, explains how, for instance, neuropathic pain, is often a result of disorders of the peripheral nervous system or the central nervous system. 'This can manifest as abnormal sensations, known as dysesthesia, or pain from stimuli that would ordinarily be harmless, known as allodynia.' From her perspective, the treatment of neuropathic pain can be extremely difficult because the pain mechanisms are not fully understood. In response to this, Ito has been conducting investigations to elucidate understanding, and one exciting avenue of study is lipids. A lipid is a biomolecule that is responsible for a variety of biological functions and is essential for life activity.