Nearly $1 million in R01 grants to support UAB psychology research

New funding will advance research on the role of diet and race in knee arthritis pain and pain sensitivity, respectively, in transgender community.
Written by: Tehreem Khan
Media contact: Brianna Hoge

Stream R01 GrantsBurel Goodin, Ph.D., and Robert Sorge, Ph.D.Two University of Alabama at Birmingham faculty members in the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Psychology have received R01 grants from the National Institute for Nursing Research to further their research projects.  

Professor Burel Goodin, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Robert Sorge, Ph.D., received $472,384 in funding for their project titled “Sex, Hormones and Identity affect Nociceptive Expression,” or SHINE, and $525,800 in funding for the project “Diet Interventions, by Race, Evaluated as Complementary Treatments for Pain,” or DIRECTPain.

“These grants will allow Dr. Sorge and me to continue our work focused on improved pain management options, as well as better understand the pain experiences of people historically under-represented in research,” Goodin said.

SHINE will focus on the understudied transgender community and aims to determine the impact of gender identity, sex assigned at birth and hormone status on pain sensitivity. The goal is to examine social and psychological factors that contribute to pain sensitivity in these groups, and it is the first study to examine evoked pain sensitivity and immune cell responsivity between cisgender and transgender individuals.

DIRECTPain is the first study to examine the efficacy of diets to reduce knee osteoarthritis pain with an emphasis on race, sex and interactions. The overall aim of this study is to examine the efficacy of diets to reduce evoked pain and to determine the contribution of race and sex to these effects, with an emphasis on psychosocial variables.

“Both of these grants are the natural extension of our work examining ways in which biopsychosocial variables can affect chronic pain in populations that are historically undertreated for pain,” Sorge said. “Providing a non-drug alternative for chronic pain — through DIRECTPain — and partnering with local community groups — through SHINE — will allow us to directly impact those shouldering the greatest burdens and at the highest risk for poor health outcomes.”