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Pilot Projects

2023 Pilot Awards

Social connectedness and spirituality influences on chronic pain and opioid misuse among United States adults in midlife

Yusuf Ransome, MPH, DrPH, and Joyonna (Joy) Gamble-George, PhD

The proposed research will assess the relationship between chronic pain and opioid misuse and determine how spirituality and social connectedness mediate this relationship when people experience financial insecurity. The central hypothesis is that greater social connectedness and spirituality are associated with a lower likelihood of opioid misuse during financial insecurity.

Using fMRI to enhance phenotypic assessment of individuals with Opioid Use Disorder with Chronic Pain

Sarah Yip, PhD, MSc, and Brian Kiluk, PhD

The proposed research will for the first time combine neuroimaging with detailed phenotypic assessments across multiple domains using the NIDA Phenotyping Assessment Battery (PhAB)—a dimensional battery developed by members of the investigative team and NIDA. Data will be used for assessment of the feasibility and acceptability of using the PhAB, alone and in conjunction with neuroimaging, among individuals with lived experiences of chronic pain, as well as in the identification of biobehavioral factors linked to chronic pain among individuals receiving medications for opioid use disorder.

2022 Pilot Awards

The Relationship Between Pain Sensitivity and Brain Synaptic Density Among Persons with Opioid Use Disorder with and without Chronic Pain: A Pilot PET and Quantitative Sensory Testing Study

Joao De Aquino, MD; Declan Barry, PhD; Gustavo Angarita, MD, MHS

The proposed research aims to (1) investigate the relationship between synaptic density in the human brain and multiple aspects of the pain experience, among persons with opioid use disorder (OUD) with and without chronic pain and (2) characterize the impact of buprenorphine induction on multiple aspects of the pain experience. This research will lay a foundation for future research investigating the effects of buprenorphine on neural substrates of pain and reward as well as synaptic density as a target of novel therapeutics for co-occurring OUD and chronic pain.

2021 Pilot Awards

Opioid Stewardship Intervention for Patients with Chronic Pain and Opioid Use Disorder Or Opioid Misuse

Melissa Weimer, DO, MCR; Adam Ackerman, MD

The proposed research establishes opioid stewardship programs that use automated case finding to identify patients eligible for implementation of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments balancing opioid risks and benefits, using measures of pain and pain interference. This research will also explore effects of opioid stewardship programs on length of hospital stay, symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and sleep during hospitalization, receipt of or changes in medications for opioid use disorder, and hospital readmission and emergency department utilization within thirty days of discharge.