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Clinical Research



Our extensive clinical research program covers a broad spectrum of research interests from the study of sleep disorders and its impact on the anesthesia management of OSA patients, to the understanding of factors leading to the development of chronic neuropathic pain.

Anesthesiology Clinical Research Center

The Anesthesiology Clinical Research Center (ACRC) conducts clinical research with federal, foundation, and industry funding. Janet Vaughan, MS, NP, serves as the operations director of the center, and oversees a staff of two research nurses and one administrative assistant. The ACRC has all the equipment and resources necessary for the performance of inpatient and outpatient clinical research according to Good Clinical Practice, and also has the instruments (e.g., Medoc TSA-II Neurosensory Analyzer) and experience necessary to perform quantitative sensory testing using thermal, electrical, tactile, and vibratory stimuli.

One of the major areas of ACRC research has been Phase II, III, and IV clinical trials of treatments for outpatients with a wide variety of chronic pain conditions. Over the past 15 years, the ACRC has been very active in multicenter clinical trials conducted by industry sponsors for the development of new analgesic drugs and in evaluating new analgesic indications for existing medications. The ACRC has particular expertise in clinical trials of the treatment and prevention of neuropathic pain, especially postherpetic neuralgia and painful diabetic neuropathy. Multiple clinical trials have also been conducted in fibromyalgia, low back pain, osteoarthritis, cancer-related pain, and opioid-associated bowel dysfunction.

Studies of inpatients have also been conducted for many years by the staff of the ACRC, including research on ARDS and post-operative pain. Faculty members who have conducted these studies have played major roles in multicenter ICU clinical trials and are nationally recognized for these contributions.

Faculty and Staff

Robert H. DworkinRobert H. Dworkin, Ph.D.
Director, Anesthesiology Clinical Research Center
Professor of Anesthesiology, Neurology, Oncology, and Psychiatry


Rajbala ThakurRajbala Thakur, M.B.B.S., M.D.
Medical Director, Anesthesiology Clinical Research Center
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology


Janet Pennella-Vaughan, MS, NP
Clinical Operations Director, Anesthesiology Clinical Research Center
Senior Associate Nurse Practitioner, Anesthesia Pain Service
Associate Professor, School of Nursing

Tammy Ortiz
Research Administrative Assistant
Eunyoung Wong, RH, MPH
Research Nurse Coordinator