top of page
download.png
ncats-logo.png
ninds_logo.png
unnamed.jpg
file_20_4658737.jpg
download-1.png
ictr-logo-web.png
CollocaLab_5.jpg

Current Research Projects

The Colloca Lab is currently running six research projects related to chronic pain. Read the titles and research summaries below for more information!

1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) sponsored research on Neural Mechanisms of Observationally-induced Analgesia

2. MPowering the State of Maryland sponsored research on Mechanisms of Immersive Virtual reality, and Modulation of Pain

3. National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) sponsored research on chronic orofacial pain, genetics, cognitive-emotional factors, and endogenous modulatory systems 

4. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism sponsored research on organization of the 3rd International conference of The Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies-SIPS - Harnessing placebo mechanisms for optimal pain management, treatment of alcohol, and other drug use disorders (Baltimore, May 2021)

5. University of Maryland School of Nursing Dean Initiatives Fund sponsored research on Neurobiology of pain modulation

6. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) sponsored research on the mechanisms of immersive virtual reality compared to the mechanisms of placebo hypoalgesia in chronic pain

CollocaLab_1.JPG

Research Summaries

The feeling of pain is not just a sensory experience; it is also influenced by emotions, beliefs, and expectations, making it a highly subjective experience. This becomes evident in clinical practice, where the behavior of the physician and context of the treatment can strongly influence a patient's pain experience.  The Colloca lab is involved in several studies examining the perception of pain as well as the mechanisms of pain and pain reduction. 

Photo Credits: Erika Larsen

Research: Publications

Genetic predictors of pain modulation

Recent studies suggest that genetics plays an important role in pain sensitivity and modulation, and can increase the susceptibility to developing chronic pain and TMD, disorders that are both costly and common. Furthermore, the individual pain experience and responses to treatments is highly variable, and about 50% of that variability can be afforded to expectancy-induced analgesia. To improve the effectiveness of treatments by increasing understanding of individual variability, we study how genetics affects expectancy-induced analgesia. We have developed a novel and comprehensive genetic, behavioral and imaging approach to study the role of genetic variations on behavioral, psychological and neuronal mechanisms of expectancy-induced analgesia in patients with TMD.

STUDY AIMS: 

  1. Test the hypothesis that variants in candidate genes are associated with expectancy-induced analgesia and will predict chronic orofacial pain endophenotypes

  2. Test the hypothesis that individual psychological traits are unique modulators of the complex genetic influence of expectancy-induced analgesia, regardless of the severity of the disease

  3.  Test the hypothesis that variations in the specific (identified) genes predict neural changes in the prefrontal and limbic areas that are associated with expectancy-induced analgesia.


GOALS:

  1. To provide a new framework to study the pharmacogenomics of chronic orofacial pain, 

  2. To identify genetic markers that can be used to develop new therapeutic targets and strategies

  3. To determine which patients are most likely to respond to specific treatments. 

Active Grants

The Colloca Lab is proud to be the recipient of the following grants to support current research.

Research: Publications

1.

Title: “Chronic orofacial pain: genetics, cognitive-emotional factors, and
endogenous modulatory systems”
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), 1R01DE025946

Colloca L, PI 

2016 - 2022

Project goal: Develop a novel genetic, behavioral and imaging approach to determine the role of genetic variants on behavioral, psychological and neuronal mechanisms of expectancy-induced analgesia in TMD with a focus on deeper phenotyping of placebo responders and nonresponders.

2.

Title: “Comparative Effectiveness of Pain Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Chronic Pain Self-Management within the Context of Opioid Reduction”
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI- OPD-1610-37 007, PI:
Darnall)

Colloca, L, Co-Investigator

2017 - 2023

Project goals: Determine the effectiveness of two types of active behavioral pain management treatment classes in patients prescribed long-term opioids from primary care and pain clinics in four states in the western United States.

3.

Title: “Networks for the Expectation of Pain”
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), R01NS10928

Colloca L, Co-Investigator (PI: Fred Lenz, JHU)

2018 - 2023

Project goals: This project provides the unique opportunity to record local field potentials (LFP) directly from structures or modules in the brain involved in processing of expectation of pain in patients with epilepsy

4.

Title: “Johns Hopkins institute for clinical and translational research”

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), UL1TR003098

Colloca L, TL1 Program-Director (PI: Daniel Ford, JHU/Stephen Davis, UMB)

2019 - 2024

Project goals: This project provides the unique opportunity to train the futuregeneration of scientists in translational research. Translational research demands the skills of many professionals working together to address complex problems. The Johns Hopkins ICTR is poised to leverage our current services to benefit new partners who have extensive responsibility for the conduct of research and health care delivery in Maryland. Working together, we expect to have a measurable impact on translational research in Maryland.

5.

Title: “Neural correlates of hypoalgesia driven by observation”
National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), R01AT01033

Colloca L, PI

2019 - 2024

Project goal: Investigating the brain mechanisms of hypoalgesia driven by observing analgesia induced in another individual using fMRI, EEG and EEG/fMRI techniques.

6.

Title: “Neural Mechanisms of Immersive Virtual Reality in Chronic Pain”

National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), R01 AT011347-01A1

Colloca L, PI

2021 - 2026

Project goal:  Investigating the physiological mechanisms of immersive virtual reality in chronic pain patients.

Completed Grants

The Colloca Lab is grateful to have recieved and completed the following grants.

1.

Title: “Exploring the role of vasopressin in socially-induced hypoalgesia”
UMB Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR)

Colloca L, multi-PI (5%) (Colloca L, Gullapalli, R) 

2018 - 2020

Project goals: To determine how AVP modulates social observational learning of placebo analgesia.

2.

Title: “Novel Therapies to Reduce Opioid Use”
MPowering the State of Maryland funding

Colloca L, co-PI (in-kind)

2017 - 2020

 

Project goals: Test the hypothesis that pharmacological conditioning can help manage acute perioperative and chronic pain while the total intake of painkillers is minimized.

3.

Title: “Ketamine-like effects and conditioning in a mouse model of neuropathic chronic pain”
CRCRP, UMB

Colloca L, co-PI (Lessans S. and Gould T, in-kind)

2016 - 2018

Project goal: Explore neural and genetics biomarkers of placebo analgesia in laboratory settings including new pilot studies on social learning and RNA gene expression and pain.

4.

Title: “3rd International conference of The Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies SIPS - Harnessing placebo mechanisms for optimal pain management and treatment of alcohol and other drug use disorders”
NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ALCOHOLISM (NIAAA),
R13AA028424

Colloca L, multi-PI (Colloca L, contact PI and Seneviratne C)

2020 - 2022

Project goals: Orgazining the 3rd International conference of The Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies (SIPS) with the scope to expand what is known in placebo and pain to addiction.

bottom of page