Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2021
Home Department: Neurosciences
Faculty Advisors: Vivianne Tawfik (Anesthesiology) and Raag Airan (Radiology)

Research Title: Targeted Delivery of Dexmedetomidine for Pain Relief in a Mouse Model of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Research Description: Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) develops after injury to the upper or lower extremities. Increased sensitivity of sympathetic α-2-adrenergic receptors (α2AR) in the peripheral and central nervous systems is suspected in CRPS. Dexmedetomidine (DEX), an α2AR agonist, is a potential CRPS treatment whose usage is limited by undesirable side effects including hypotension and bradycardia. Gabriella will deliver DEX locally in the injured limb or spinal cord in a CRPS mouse model using ultrasound-responsive DEX-loaded nanoparticles to maximize its analgesic effects, minimize side effects, and elucidate its mechanisms of action. Hence, we will develop a safe, non-opioid option for pain management.