Drs. Lucas, Ramesh and collaborator Dr. Evans receive ANF award!

Congratulations to Dr. Ruth Lucas, and co-investigators Drs. Divya Ramesh and Heather Evans (University of Saint Joseph, Connecticut) on their $15,000 grant award from the American Nurses Foundation (ANF) for their proposal ANTENATAL CANNABIS USE: IMPLICATIONS FOR SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT AND RISK-TAKING. The purpose of this exploratory study is to describe cannabis use in pregnancy with a focus on pregnancy-related symptoms, social and emotional risk factors, and risk-taking behaviors. The proposed study will assess the feasibility of the nursing team to collect data in pregnant women who are cannabis users. The outcome of this study will identify modifiable factors of pregnancy related symptoms, social or emotional support or risk-taking behaviors, thus allowing for early intervention in this population.

Congratulations to Dr. Angela Starkweather!!

Congratulations to Dr. Angela Starkweather, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Director of the P20 Center for Accelerating Precision Pain Self-Management who has received a subaward of $68,149 from the University of Maryland at Baltimore (UMB) for a newly funded NINR study Physiological, psychological, and genomic factors that predict the transition from acute to chronic pain in patients with traumatic lower extremity fracture.  Dr. Starkweather will work with Drs. Renn and Dorsey of UMB and Dr. Griffioen of University of Delaware to examine physiological, psychological, clinical, and sociodemographic factors predictive of chronic pain phenotype following lower extremity fracture.  In addition, they will test the hypothesis that differences in gene expression will be associated with the chronic pain phenotype following lower extremity fracture.  Their analyses will examine how changes in gene expression differ between extreme phenotypes at baseline and 52 weeks, and construct a database of altered gene expression profiles as well as novel therapeutic targets and pathways for better pain management.

2018 CAMP-PRIM Awardees

Congratulations to Rebecca Acabchuk, PhD and Sharon Casavant MSN, RN who have received the first set of CAMP-PRIM funds for their pilot research studies. Dr. Acabchuk has received a $1500 award for her project “Informing Mindfulness Studies for Pain and Addiction Recovery: Investigating the Inflammatory Pathway”. She will be working with her advisor Dr. Blair Johnson (Psychology) to examine salivary C-Reactive Protein levels pre- and post-mindfulness intervention among a sample of college students. Sharon Casavant has received $1000 grant for her study “Predicting Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Preterm Infants Using Multi-Omic Measures (PRENOP): A Pilot Study of Gene Expression”. She will be working with her advisor Dr. Xiaomei Cong (Nursing) to examine  changes in gene expression at 2 time points and investigate associations between gene expression and neurodevelopmental outcomes as a result of painful procedures in preterm infants.

Community: A patient’s perspective of visceral pain

Pain researcher and geneticist, Dr. Erin Young, visits with Jeff Blocker about his experience with visceral pain, a condition he has suffered with for over 20 years. At the age of 21, Jeff had a cervical spinal cord injury while serving in the military. Since that time, he’s experienced neuropathic and visceral pain, but for him the visceral pain is at times unbearable. Approximately 70% of patients with spinal cord injury experience chronic pain with at least one third having severely intense pain that impacts mood, function and quality of life. As part of her translational research program, Dr. Young uses rodent models to study the c

ellular mechanisms of visceral pain and also collects specimens from humans to investigate genetic variants that may contribute to visceral pain in patients with spinal cord injuries, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disorders. Her meeting with Jeff, one of the Center for Advancement in Managing Pain’s community partners, provided her with some insights on his experience with visceral pain, and some added inspiration for continuing her work in this area. For more information about Dr. Young’s lab, visit her webpage and Jeff’s story can be found at the following link.


UCHC, UCONN Nursing and Jackson Labs Announce New Statewide Pain Consortium

The Connecticut Pain Consortium will focus on a problem of national importance: the need for fundamental and translational research on the causes and manifestations of pain, pain management, and education about pain and its ramifications. CAMP member and Professor Reinhard Laubenbacher, who will lead the consortium and is a joint faculty member at UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory, said the consortium will focus on researching the causes of pain, as well as pain management and how to translate that research into new therapies. Read more at this link , the Courant and Hartford Business websites.

Drs. Baumbauer and Young receive NIH R21 award

Congratulations to Principal Investigator, Dr. Kyle Baumbauer, and Co-Investigator, Dr. Erin E. Young, on their $433,579 NINDS R21 award for Targeting Acid Sensing Ion Channel Subunit 3 (ASIC3) to Disrupt Nociceptor Sensitization Following Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).  Most of what is known about the mechanisms underlying pain following spinal cord injury (SCI) has focused on changes occurring within the spinal cord. However, existing work has shown that primary afferents also contribute to the initiation and maintenance of SCI-induced chronic pain. The current study will examine the role of ASIC3 in the initiation of afferent sensitization and subsequent behavioral sensitivity. Dr. Baumbauer predicts that reduction of ASIC3 mRNA expression will attenuate the development of SCI-induced afferent sensitization and pain. Further, it is proposed that given the nature of SCI and the potential for early intervention, targeting ASIC3 at the time of injury may be effective at disrupting the processes underlying the development of persistent pain following SCI.

Call for submissions: CAMP -PRIM Fund

CAMP Pain Research Initiative and Maintenance (CAMP-PRIM) Fund: The purpose of this initiative is to support the research, scholarship and creative endeavors of junior researchers including junior faculty post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students in the field of pain research. The CAMP-PRIM is designed to support junior researchers in the initiation, completion, or maintenance of research projects, scholarly activities, creative works, or interdisciplinary initiatives that are critical to advancing pain assessment, measurement, and management. There will be two awards of $1500 for each grant in 2018.  Please the guidelines for submission instructions.  Please email a combined PDF of all materials to painresearch@uconn.edu by June 30, 2018. 

CAMP Researchers receive UCONN-REP Award

Congratulations to Dr. Kyounghae Kim and her research team including Co-PI, Dr. Guoan Zheng, Co-I, Dr. Angela Starkweather and Collaborator, Dr. Erin E. Young, who have received a Research Excellence Program grant for $49,545 from the Office of the Vice President for Research.  The title of the project is Development of a SPINE mobile application to improve low back pain self-management.  The aims of the study are to: (1) adapt a lower back pain self-management intervention called “Sensitivity to Pain IN ME” or “SPINE” to a mobile format; (2) evaluate the feasibility and initial efficacy of the intervention, in a one-group pretest/posttest study, on self-management skills and outcomes in 50 patients (ages 45–65) with acute lower back pain; and (3) compare sensory and gene expression profiles between patients who recover within 12 weeks and those developing chronic lower back pain.