Chronic pain is one of our nation’s most significant healthcare problems. Although our understanding of pain neurobiology has grown over the last several years, few new therapeutics have been developed. Thus, it is imperative that further research be conducted to better understand chronic pain; its causes, effects, and treatments.

Recent studies conducted by our laboratory and others demonstrate that a great deal of individual variability exists in pain sensitivity and likelihood to develop chronic pain conditions. Furthermore, there is significant individual variability in the efficacy, tolerance, and side-effect profiles for conventional analgesics used to treat pain. Variability in experimental pain, the development of chronic pain conditions, and analgesic responsiveness is due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors.

Our research objectives are to


  1. Bullet     understand signaling processes that drive persistent pain

  1. Bullet      evaluate genetic polymorphisms linked to persistent pain

  1. Bullet      identify biomarkers predictive for development of persistent pain

Thus, our lab integrates molecular genetics, animal models, and clinical epidemiologic measures to better understand the neurobiological processes underlying persistent pain as well as to identify unique markers for the diagnosis of clinical pain conditions in order to ultimately provide novel targets for the development of effective individualized pain therapeutics.

Current Projects:

Persistent COMT-dependent Pain: Role of β-adrenergic Receptors

Molecular Profiling of Complex Persistent Pain Conditionss

Role of MOR-1 Isoforms in Opioid-induced Hyperalgesia

Extended release of a local anesthetic for continued analgesia following dental extractions