Meet Your Enrolling Team

Duke Lead

Andrea Nackley, PhD

Principal Investigator

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 AnesthesiologyPain, 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.


UCLA Study Team

Andrea Rapkin, MD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Rapkin received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University in 1975. She went on to study medicine at the University of New York in Buffalo where she received her M.D. in 1979.

Dr. Rapkin completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCLA School of Medicine in 1983. She is also Board Certified and is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. After obtaining her M.D., she joined the faculty at UCLA where she is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Rapkin directs the UCLA Pelvic Pain Clinic. She has published extensively in the areas of premenstrual syndrome, chronic pelvic pain and women’s reproductive health, with numerous research articles and contributions to textbooks in the area of menstrual-cycle-related mood disorders and pelvic pain.

Dr. Rapkin was one of the first Obstetrician-Gynecologists to adapt the multidisciplinary pain management approach to the evaluation and treatment of women with pelvic and vulvar pain. Founded by Dr. Rapkin, the UCLA Chronic Pelvic Pain and Vulvodynia Program includes professionals in psychology, anesthesiology, and physical therapy and provides patient care, resident medical student education, and a fruitful environment for clinical research.

Haley Cutting, MS, PA

Physician Assistant

Haley received a bachelor’s degree in 2013 and a master’s degree in 2017, both from USC. She has been a practicing Physician Assistant (PA) in Los Angeles for the past 2 years and is excited to begin work in a position that merges two of her interests – women’s health and research. Haley looks forward to meeting each study participant. Her goal is to make everyone feel comfortable, safe, and informed throughout the study process. Together, we will contribute to a greater knowledge of VBD for the benefit all current and future patients.

Eva Gonzalez, BA

Study Coordinator

Eva Gonzalez is a first generation Latina who graduated from UCLA in 2014 with a degree in anthropology. She focused on biological anthropology while in college, but changed career courses after her pleasurable experience working as a research coordinator in the emergency department at UCLA’s Olive View Medical Center. She is now a post-baccalaureate student at UCLA working toward pursing medical school. She loves science and wishes to combine her love of social justice with medicine in the future. Now working for UCLA’s OBGYN department, she wishes to provide support and comfort to the participants involved in research studies that are aimed to promote the wellbeing of women. She spends her free time teaching tricks and playing with her parrot, Mr. Wobbles.

Jasmyn Akaninwor, BA

Study Coordinator

Jasmyn Akaninwor is a Los Angeles native, who completed her undergraduate degree in 2011 at UCLA. She majored in History as well gaining exposure to the sciences as a pre-med while an undergraduate. Since graduating she has worked in various fields and has spent the past 3 years working in research. She has worked at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as a Research Assistant for one of the top heart transplant programs in the country. She has recently joined UCLA Department of OBGYN and Urology as a Clinical Research Coordinator with the hope of bringing her knowledge and experience to such a valuable and necessary study for women with vulvodynia. She wants our patients to feel safe and supported throughout the study. In her spare time she loves reading, cooking, and watching a lot of football.

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Contact the Team

General Inquiries:

The University of California, Los Angeles

Women’s Health Clinical Research Unit
UCLA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
10833 Le Conte, CHS Room 22-265
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1740

UNC Study Team

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Erin Carey, MD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Erin Carey is an Assistant Professor in addition to the Division and Fellowship Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at the University of North Carolina in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She received her bachelor of liberal arts and doctor of medicine in a combined BA-MD program at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, in 2006. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 2010 and a fellowship in advanced laparoscopy and pelvic pain at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012.

Dr. Carey also received a master of science in clinical research at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Public Health in 2012 and completed a fellowship in pain anesthesia at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013. Her national leadership roles include Scientific Program Director and Secretary of the International Pelvic Pain Society, and Director-at-Large for the AAGL Fellowship of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Board. Her clinical expertise in female pain disorders and established clinical collaborations provides the ideal environment to accomplish her research goals in caring for women with vestibulodynia.

Elizabeth Geller, MD

Principal Investigator

Elizabeth Geller, MD is an Associate Professor as well as Fellowship Program Director and Medical Director of the Rex Office in the Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  She is board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Duke University, then completed medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and residency in Ob/Gyn at the University of California at Irvine.  She completed her Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008.

Dr. Geller is the Ob/Gyn Clerkship Director for the UNC Physician Assistants Training Program. She also directs the Interstim Neuromodulation Program and serves on the UNC Data Safety Monitoring Board.  Her national leadership roles include Chair of the American Urogynecology Society (AUGS) Program Directors Committee, membership on the AUGS Program Committee, International Urogyncology Association (IUGA) Education Committee, IUGA Program Committee, and Programming Chair for the AUGS Fellows Day.  Her teaching excellence is demonstrated by the Berlex Best Teaching Resident Award, the UNC Fellows Teaching Award and the annual Golden Tar Heel Teaching Award as faculty at UNC.  Her research interests include clinical outcomes with pelvic floor dysfunction, including vaginal pain. As a surgeon and physician who treats women with vaginal pain, she is dedicated to finding treatment options that can improve women’s quality of life.

Debbie Farb, RN, BSN, MPH, IBCLC

Research Nurse

Debbie has worked across the board in women’s health for ~20 years, and she looks forward to meeting study participants at UNC Hillsborough. Debbie is a Registered Nurse, and also has a Master’s in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health. Her variety of women’s health experience includes: in-patient obstetrics/gynecology, clinic-based prenatal/postpartum care and family planning, mother/baby nurse home visiting, public health obstetrics case management, and public health nurse consulting/leadership. Debbie is excited to work together with study participants to gain knowledge about VBD to help women and their loved ones now and in the future.


Contact the Team
Phone: (919) 886 – 3024

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of North Carolina
UNC Hillsborough Medical Office Building
460 Waterstone Drive, 3rd Floor
Hillsborough, NC 27278