Q&A with Sarah Bernhard: Developing Effective Chronic Pain Treatments with Fewer Side EffectsOctober 3, 2023
Sarah Bernhard, a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, seeks to develop safer and more effective treatments for chronic pain.
Nearly 7% of U.S. adults report experiencing high-impact chronic pain that limits their life and work activities on most days. Unfortunately, current treatments for chronic pain are often ineffective or have unwanted side effects.
Sarah Bernhard, a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, received a 2023 PhRMA Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery for her research seeking to develop safer and more effective treatments for chronic pain.
Bernhard’s research focuses on creating drugs that target delta opioid receptors (DORs) on the outside of nerve cells. Activating these receptors can trigger chemical changes that lead to feelings of pain relief, but this can sometimes trigger seizures as well. Bernhard aims to investigate the mechanisms that cause seizure symptoms of DOR drugs using human cell lines and develop new seizure-free DOR drugs.
Watch this video to learn about Bernhard and her research.