Andrea Nackley, PhD
Dr. Andrea Nackley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology’s Center for Translational Pain Medicine (CTPM) at Duke University. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Biology from Virginia Polytechnic University in 1997 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Neuroscience from the University of Georgia in 2003. She then completed a Post-doctoral fellowship in the area of Pain Genetics in the Center for Pain Research and Innovation at the University of North Carolina.
Dr. Nackley has had a longstanding interest in pain processes and modulatory mechanisms. In particular, she is driven to understand the factors that put some individuals at risk for developing maladaptive chronic pain conditions, such as vestibulodynia (VBD). She has extensive expertise in pain neurobiology, molecular biology, and genetics. During the last 15 years, her expertise in these areas has been applied to the study of how alterations in gene regulation, protein expression, and receptor signaling contribute to VBD and overlapping chronic pain conditions. Key discoveries in this field include: 1) identifying human gene variants associated with clinical pain, 2) determining the molecular mechanism whereby pain-relevant gene variants lead to functional changes in protein expression and activity, and 3) and identifying biomarkers (e.g., cytokines and microRNAs) that distinguish etiologically distinct subtypes of VBD. These exciting and internationally recognized discoveries have been published in top journals such as Anesthesiology, Pain, and Science.
Dr. Nackley remains an active leader of translational pain research, participating in pain-relevant workshops and delivering invited lectures around the globe. She also acts as Chair of the American Pain Society’s Early Career Forum, encouraging the professional development of our future leaders in pain research. In recognition of her scholarly activity in the Pain field, she received the John C. Liebeskind Career Scholar Award from the American Pain Society.
Dr. Nackley is committed to this research study, and to translating the study’s findings to improved patient care. Thus, permitting the millions of women with VBD, their partners, and their clinicians to make more informed decisions about pain management.