Brittney Ciszek, PhD

Brittney Ciszek, PhD

Pending Dental Student

Date Joined Laboratory
July 2011
Date Left Laboratory
May 2016


I am interested in the genetic and pharmocologic alterations in reduced catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) activity that are associated with increased pain sensitivity and likelihood of developing chronic pain disorders such as temporomandibular joint disorder. I am currently using an animal model to determine if COMT-dependent pain is transmitted via peripherally, spinally or centrally located badrenergic receptors. Determining a site of action for COMT-dependent pain has the propensity to broaden the understanding and treatment of chroni pain disorders, as well as clinical conditions that share common or overlapping pathologies.


2016: First-place recipient of the 24th Annual Duke Anesthesiology Academic Evening’s Excellence in the Pre-Doctoral Non-Medical Student category.

2015: Turner Award Finalist (UNC SOD Dental Research & Review Day)
2015: HHMI International Fellowship Nominee

2014: Freedland Advances Dental Eduaction Fellowship (Dental Foundation of North Carolina)
2014: Turner Award Finalist (UNC SOD Dental Research & Review Day)

2013: 2nd Place – Poster Presentation at the International Pelvic Pain Society Meeting (Orlando, FL)
2013-2015: Science Program for Excellence in Science – Member (Funded by AAAS / Science Magazine)
2013: 2nd Runner Up – Turner Award (UNC SOD Dental Research & Review Day)

2012: Merit Fellowship Recipient (UNC Doctorate Program Fellowship)
2012: Director’s Award Recipient (UNC Doctorate Program Award)


Persistent Catechol-O-methyltransferase-dependent Pain Is Initiated by Peripheral β-Adrenergic Receptors.
Ciszek BP, O’Buckley SC, Nackley AG.
Anesthesiology. 2016 May;124(5):1122-35.
PMID: 26950706

MicroRNA expression profiles differentiate chronic pain condition subtypes.
Ciszek BP, Khan AA, Dang H, Slade GD, Smith S, Bair E, Maixner W, Zolnoun D, Nackley AG.
Transl Res. 2015 Dec;166(6):706-720.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2015.06.008. Epub 2015 Jun 24.
PMID: 26166255

β2- and β3-adrenergic receptors drive COMT-dependent pain by increasing production of nitric oxide and cytokines.
Hartung JE, Ciszek BP, Nackley AG.
Pain. 2014 Jul;155(7):1346-55. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2014.04.011. Epub 2014 Apr 13.
PMID: 24727346

Robert Baldi
Lab Research Analyst II
Laboratory Manager
Office: +1-919-684-4867
Fax: +1-919-613-2324

Anesthesiology Clinical Research Unit
Duke University

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Chris KeithBrittney Ciszek