Linnstaedt awarded NIH Career Development Grant to study sex differences in vulnerability to posttraumatic chronic pain

Sarah D. Linnstaedt, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, has been awarded a K01 Career Development Grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) of the National Institutes of Health. This grant will enable her lab to study the biological and psychosocial mechanisms leading to increased chronic pain burden in women vs men following trauma/stress exposure.

Chronic pain affects over one-third of the world’s population, leading to immense suffering and disability. One of the most common triggers for chronic pain is exposure to traumatic or stressful events.

Consistent with the vast majority of chronic pain conditions, women are at increased risk of posttraumatic chronic pain development. However, the biological mechanisms responsible for this disparity are poorly understood.

Through mentored research supported by NIAMS, Linnstaedt will examine biological mechanisms driving increased vulnerability to posttraumatic chronic pain within the context of contemporary biopsychosocial models of chronic pain development. More specifically, she will use samples from human cohort studies of trauma survivors to study sex-specific RNA transcriptional control points that drive increased pain development in women.

These new studies build on research funded by the Mayday Fund and a Future Leaders in Pain grant from the American Pain Society.

The lead mentor for Linnstaedt’s career development award is Samuel McLean MD, MPH, Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Anesthesiology and Director of The Instutute of Trauma Recovery at UNC. McLean is joined by a larger team of mentors and advisors for this work including Dr. Terry Magnuson (UNC), Dr. Cynthia Kuhn (Duke), Dr. Kenneth Bollen (UNC), Dr. Joel Parker (UNC), Dr. Francis Keefe (Duke), and Dr. Jeffrey Mogil (McGill University).

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