Innovation Science

Research in Pain Relief and Opioid Mitigation

Research Portfolio

Light Based Analgesia

There is an urgent need for non-pharmacological strategies to address pain. We have pioneered research on green light to help alleviate pain and spare opioid use.

Pain Care Redesign

The care of opioid tolerant hospitalized patients presents an opportunity to improve outcomes. An innovative care model to address the needs of a high risk population.

Perioperative Pain Management

The perioperative period presents a significant opportunity for optimization and intentional teaching. A study on the optimal perioperative pain management strategies.

Postoperative opioid use

The period around surgery is well recognized as a trigger for chronic opioid use and dependence. A study to evaluate optimal postoperative opioid prescribing practices.


As the search for opioid sparing analgesic options continues, Ketamine has been touted as a potential alternative. We study the potential risks and benefits of this therapy.

Integrated Pain Management

A comprehensive population health model to improve pain outcomes.


United States Patent 10675221 B2 (Systems and Methods for controlling and monitoring medication dispensation) June 2020.

Patient Initiated Controlled Analgesic Remote Dispenser (PICARD)

Prevent Risk of Overdose, Increase Patient Adherence, Improve Patient Outcomes

A Smart pill bottle with biometric security, geo-location, dose controlled dispensation and interactive closed loop physician-patient communication.

About Us​

Our Mission

To create a cohesive strategy to optimize pain management and safe opioid prescribing  and to reduce the impact of substance abuse on our community.

Our Vision

A transformative process, to make pain management a patient-centered and physician-led multidisciplinary coordinated care model.

To address the gaps in the continuum of care required for optimal management of pain in our population and outline an innovative clinical framework to transform care by enhancing service to our patients using a value based approach.

Building community outreach and infrastructure to improve quality of life and reduce the impact of substance abuse on our population.

Our Team

Padma Gulur MD

Principal Investigator

Padma Gulur, MD, is Professor of Anesthesiology and Population Health and the Executive Vice Chair for Operations and Performance at Duke Anesthesiology. Dr. Gulur completed her residency in anesthesiology at Boston University. She then completed her fellowship training in pain medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Gulur specializes in advanced interventional pain management. Dr. Gulur is committed to researching innovative techniques to assess and manage pain. Dr Gulur serves as a CPT advisor to the AMA CPT Editorial Panel and is a member of the FDA Advisory committee on Compounding.

amanda nelli md

Lead Post Doctoral Researcher 

Amanda Nelli, MD, is the lead postdoctoral researcher in the PROMIS Lab. Dr. Nelli is pursuing mentored research and scholarly training in pain medicine and opioid mitigation. Dr. Nelli conducted Industry research in Chicago before coming to Duke to lead the PROMIS Lab under the direction of Dr. Gulur.


Nancy Pahwa MD, is a postdoctoral researcher in the PROMIS Lab. She is pursuing mentored research and scholarly training in pain medicine and opioid mitigation. Before joining Duke, Dr. Pahwa was deployed by the state of California Emergency Medical Services Authority for patient care at a dedicated field hospital treating COVID19 positive patients in the San Francisco Bay Area


Kevin Vorenkamp MD

Kevin Vorenkamp MD is Interim Division Chief, Pain Medicine  and medical director of the Duke Raleigh and Medical Park Pain Clinics and has been in the clinical practice since 2007. Prior to joining Duke, he practiced at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington and the University of Virginia, serving as both clinic director and director of the pain medicine fellowship. His collaborative research interests in the PROMIS lab are focused on optimal care delivery for high resource utilizers.

Tatyana Der MD

Tatyana Der MD is a hospitalist at Duke Raleigh with a research interest in pain management for hospitalized patients and safe opioid prescribing. She is working with the PROMIS lab on the optimal use of Ketamine for pain management of hospitalized patients. A further focus of her research is the identification and risk stratification of patients at risk for opioid induced respiratory depression. She is currently validating the Duke Opioid and Sedation Assessment (DOSA) tool.

Brian Starr MD

Brian Starr MD is an interventional pain specialist who moved to Duke from California. He is passionate about Duke Health’s mission to improve surgical outcomes and decrease the development of chronic pain. He helps co lead the perioperative pain clinic at Duke Health, one of the first such clinics focused on optimization of the perioperative course for patients at risk of poor pain outcomes.His collaborative research interests in the PROMIS lab are focused on perioperative pain management and population health.


Mary Cooter

Mary Cooter is a biostatistician who assists in research study design, data management, analysis, and publications. Ms. Cooter holds a master’s degree in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan and has been a member of the Duke Department of Anesthesiology since 2014. Ms. Cooter leverages her extensive training and experience with correlated data analysis, prospective studies of post-surgical outcomes, and retrospective cohort studies to collaborate in PROMIS Lab research projects..



                   United States Patent 10675221 B2 (Systems and Methods for controlling and monitoring medication dispensation) June 2020.   

Randy Wei
Patricia Lim
Solomon Liao
Sergio Gago
Linyi Xia
G.P. Li

G.P. Li is a professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine, with a joint appointment in Biomedical Engineering department. At UCI, he also serves as Calit2 division director and director of the Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility (INRF). His current research interests are wide ranging and include e-Health as he and his team are dedicated in developing holistic solutions in healthcare through technologies such as data management, AI, web/app development as well as hardware solutions and others.


Guann Pyng Li (UCI)
Sergio Gago Masague (UCI)
Linyi Xia (UCI)
Patricia Lim (UCI)
Randy Li-Hung Wei (UCI)
Solomon Liao (UCI)
Jason Kwon (UCI)
Xinyi Fan (UCI)
Padma Gulur (UCI)

Articles and Media

Tackling Sleep Problems for Seniors with Chronic Pain

Drug-Free Idea To Relieve Chronic Pain: Green Light

Managing Chronic Pain in Hemodialysis Patients

Women experience more pain than men, receive less treatment

The Opioid Epidemic in Durham, North Carolina

Does marijuana really relieve pain?

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Your gifts and donations will support postdoctoral researchers and the innovative research programs. The impact of acute & chronic pain, particularly the opioid epidemic has been monumental on our population. Together we can make a difference.

who will this support

At the PROMIS Lab, your generosity will help support the next generation of scientists and innovative research.

what can i support

You can be specific which project you would like to support or equally support the efforts of all the programs at the lab.

how can i support

To make a gift to the Gulur PROMIS Lab, please contact Kara Raynor with Duke Medical Center Development at 919-385-3100.


  • 919 681 6944
  • 4315 Duke South Orange Zone, 40 Medicine Circle Drive, Durham, NC 27710