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Research Team

Armando Villarreal, MD, MBA

Dr. Armando Villarreal, recently joined the Neuromedicine Pain Management Center as an Assistant professor. Prior to his arrival, he served as the Chairman of the Pain Medicine Department at Gundersen-Lutheran Neuroscience Center in Wisconsin. During his term, he supervised the Anesthesiology residency rotation at the Pain Clinic from the University of Minnesota. He was involved on several research projects, one of which was recently submitted for publication. His area of interest is neuropathic pain and the use of neuromodulation techniques.

Dr. Villarreal is member of the Educational committee of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, as well as the Credential committee of the American Board of Pain Medicine and the emergent technologies committee of the North American Neuromodulation Society. Dr. Villarreal is board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine.

Dr. Villarreal trained in Anesthesiology at Temple University and did a fellowship in Pain Management at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He completed medical school at the University of Panama, School of Medicine. He also completed a Masters in Business Administration from University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN.

Shirley Rast, MSN, FNP-BC, Pain-C

Shirley Rast is a full time Nurse Practitioner with the Neuromedicine Pain Management Center and Translational Pain Research Program where she provides comprehensive care for patients with chronic pain. She uses special and complex experience in medical management of chronic pain. She coordinate’s patient care with referring and primary care providers. Shirley holds a Bachelor's degree in Nursing from Seton Hall University and a Master’s degree in Science of Nursing from St. John Fisher College. She is licensed in New York State as a Family Nurse practitioner and is certified by the American Nurse‘s Credentialing Center as a Family Nurse Practitioner and in Pain Management. She is a member of the American Pain Society and the Greater Rochester Nurse Practitioner Association where she serves as Membership Chair.

Maria Frazer, BS, CCRC

Maria has managed chronic pain clinical trials in Translational Pain Research with the department of Neurosurgery since 2008. She holds a Clinical Research Coordinator Certification (CCRC) through the Academy of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from SUNY Fredonia. Her prior experience in neurology basic science research has provided a strong foundation in clinical research.

Maria oversees multiple research projects, executes clinical trial activities, and ensures regulatory compliance. In addition, she works closely with patient care and actively recruits patient volunteers. Ms. Frazer is published in the Journal of Pain Medicine, Neurology, Spine, Molecular Therapy, Glia, Geriatrics & Aging, and the Netter Neurology Atlas. Her work is also included in abstract presentations at both national and international conferences including: International Spinal Analgesic Drug Delivery Symposium, World Congress of Pain, American Pain Society, International Congress on Neuropathic Pain, American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Academy of Neurology, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, International Conference on Mechanisms and Treatment of Neuropathic Pain, Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, American Society of Gene Therapy, and Annual Conference of the State Society of Aging of New York.

Michelle Dugan, MSN, FNP-BC

Michelle Dugan received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from University of Rochester and her Masters’ degree in Science of Nursing from Saint John Fisher. She is licensed in New York State as a Family Nurse practitioner and is certified by American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has also held certification as a Legal Nurse Consultant. She is a member of the New York State Nurse Practitioner’s Association, the American Nephrology Nurse’s Association, and the American Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Association. She serves as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. She is a member of the Advanced Practice Nursing Advisory Group for the Margaret Sovie Center for Advanced Practice at the University of Rochester. Her area of interest and publications is Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. She participates in Clinical Research with the departments Translational Pain Research Division.

Valerie Chiodo, RN, BSN, CCRC

Valerie Chiodo received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Alderson-Broaddus University and is licensed in the state of New York. She is certified as a Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) through the Academy of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). She maintains Good Clinical Practice (GCP) compliance through the University of Rochester's Human Subject Protection Program (HSPP).  She coordinates neuropathic pain clinical trials in Translational Pain Research for the department of Neurosurgery under Director Dr. John Markman.

She is responsible for initiating and managing both multi-center industry sponsored clinical trials and investigator-initiated trials.  She is actively involved in patient recruitment, enrollment, and scheduling, as well as, the planning, implementing, conducting and monitoring day-to-day oversight of several clinical studies.

Stephanie Northwood, BA

Stephanie Northwood is a Rochester native and received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Allegheny College with a Senior Thesis comparing health care access and delivery in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. Her intersecting interests in health care and public policy have meandered through both clinical and non-clinical environments. Before coming to URMC, she worked for Dr. Donald Berwick, and also worked administratively in General Surgery at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Now at URMC in Translational Pain Research, Stephanie works on projects analyzing pain evaluation through patient reported outcome measures and high intensity pain characterization, among others including industry-sponsored drug trials.