Pain Researcher Awarded NIH Grant

The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has awarded Andrea Nackley, PhD, a $500,000, one-year grant for her project titled, “Proteins, MicroRNAs and Genes Associated with TMD and Overlapping Conditions.”

According to the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain affects 100 million Americans, causing extensive economic, social and personal costs. For some, the pain remains localized, while for others the pain spreads to affect multiple anatomic sites, suggesting a common underlying cause. In response to PA-14-244, Dr. Nackley plans to use stored biospecimens and existing data from a clinical study of 1,460 adults to determine biological (proteins, microRNAs, and gene polymorphisms), psychosocial (stress, depression, anxiety), and clinical (general health and environmental exposures) factors that contribute to localized and overlapping pain conditions. They will also use bioinformatics methods to understand how these factors interact to influence pain with the long-term goal to identify biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic overlapping pain conditions.

Dr. Nackley is the director of The Nackley Lab, part of Duke Anesthesiology’s Center for Translational Pain Medicine. This center began in January of 2016 and represents a novel entity established to transform the way painful conditions are diagnosed and treated. This new center  further expands Duke Anesthesiology’s existing clinical and research program in innovative pain therapies by bringing together, under one umbrella, leading basic scientists, clinicians and clinical researchers who have a common core mission of unraveling the causes of painful conditions to better improve patient care.