Congratulations to Neuroscience graduate student Allison Doyle Brackley on receiving a National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) National Research Service Award (NRSA) F31 Fellowship Grant!
“My F31 funding will support my education in both research
and non-research aspects of graduate education, which in the end will help to
better communicate and enjoy science,” Brackley said.
Brackley is currently conducting research in the lab of associate professor Nathan Jeske, Ph.D., in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery aimed at identifying novel protein-protein interactions that influence peripheral opioid analgesic competency in the presence and absence of inflammatory mediators.
“If we can understand how inflammation enhances opioid efficacy, these novel interactions can be targeted to improve pharmacotherapy without debilitating central side effects,” Brackley said.
According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose is the leading cause of injury death in the United States.
“Over one-third of these deaths are attributable to opioid prescription painkillers alone,” Brackley said. “Thus, peripherally acting opioids are desirable for eliminating central side effects.”
Brackley explained that pain remains the number one reason why patients seek out medical treatment.
“It affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer combined, with annual costs approaching $635 billion,” she said. “Unfortunately, analgesic efficacies of opioid drugs aimed to reduce chronic inflammatory pain are ineffective in certain patient populations or have debilitating central side effects, like tolerance, dependence, and addiction.”
The grant will help her learn new concepts, technologies, and theories related to her research project.
“Each additional skill learned allows me to answer scientific questions with complimentary methods for a more complete picture,” she said.