Faculty: Young

Erin Young PhD

Erin Young

Assistant Director, Center for Advancement in Managing Pain
Assistant Professor

erin.young@uconn.eduP: (860) 486-2852
P: (860) 486-2852
University of Connecticut
School of Nursing
Storrs Hall, Room 112C
231 Glenbrook Rd. U-4026
Storrs, CT 06269

Curriculum Vitae

Research Summary

My primary interest lies in the understanding of gene x environment interactions on pain outcomes, with a particular focus on stress and injury/inflammation as environmental factors. Genetic factors have been shown to contribute significantly to variability in the response to painful stimuli. We are beginning to unravel the individual gene candidates and the families of genes that contribute to differences in pain responses. Using genetic correlation analysis with standard inbred strains of mice in addition to whole-genome quantitative trait locus (WTL) mapping with genetic reference populations as our most powerful tools, we are able to explore the genetic contribution to both somatic and visceral pain behaviors. Stress and inflammation can both modulate pain responses to various stimuli, and it is likely that different genes are involved in pain under normal conditions and the modulation of pain through environmental factors. Most recently, my research has focused on these issues as they relate to bowel pain after inflammation using animal models of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The candidate genes identified in preclinical models can then be examined in clinical populations to determine whether these genes contribute to pain susceptibility in IBD patients. The goal is to further understand the mechanisms underlying persistent bowel pain and to use this knowledge to identify novel therapeutic targets to reduce pain and suffering in clinical populations.

Invited Lectures

Persistent Pain in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: utilizing a bedside-to-bench-to-bedside approach to understand the mechanisms underlying chronic visceral pain. October 2013. Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford, CT.

Genetics of Pain: Pathway to personalized medicine. April 2014. 2nd Joint Symposium of HIS/IASP, Siena Italy


Baumbauer, KM, Young, EE, Hoy, K, France, J, & Joynes, RL. (2006).  Intrathecal infusions of anisomycin impact the learning deficit but not the learning effect observed in spinal rats that have received instrumental training.  Behavioural Brain Research, 173(2), 299-309.

Baumbauer, KM, Young, EE, Hoy, KC, Abood, A, & Joynes, RL.  (2007).  Administration of a calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) inhibitor reverses the  noncontingent shock learning deficit observed in spinal rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, 121(3), 570-578.

Baumbauer, KM, Young, EE, Hoy, KC, Jr, & Joynes, RL.  (2007).  Intrathecal administration of neurokinin 1 and neurokinin 2 receptor antagonists undermines the savings effect in spinal rats seen in an instrumental learning paradigm.  Behavioral Neuroscience, 121(1), 186-199.

Baumbauer, KM, Young, EE, Hoy, KC, Jr, & Joynes, RL.  (2007).  Neurokinin receptors modulate the impact of uncontrollable shock on spinal plasticity.  Behavioral Neuroscience, 121(5), 1082-1094.Meagher, MW, Johnson, RR,Vichaya, EG, Young, EE, Lunt, S & Welsh, CJR.  (2007).  Social conflict exacerbates an animal model of multiple sclerosis.  Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 8(3), 314-330.

Meagher, MW, Johnson, RR, Young, EE, Good, E,  Lunt, SC, Hardin, EA, Connor, MA, Welsh,TH, & Welsh, CJR.  (2007).  IL-6 as a mechanism for the effects of SDR on acute infection.  Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 21(8), 1083-1095.

Young, EE, Baumbauer, KM, Elliot, A, & Joynes, RL. (2007).  Lipopolysaccharide induces a  spinal learning deficit that is blocked by IL-1 receptor antagonism.  Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 21(6), 748-757.
Highlighted by the editor for” carrying new and novel insights” in the 8/07  issue of BBI and accompanied by an invited commentary by Dr. Terence Deak.

Young, EE, Baumbauer, KM, Elliot, A, & Joynes, RL. (2007). The impact of neonatal injury on spinally mediated instrumental learning in adult rats.  Behavioral Neuroscience, 121(5), 1095-1100.

Young, EE, Baumbauer, KM, Hillyer, JE, & Joynes, RL.  (2007).  Local anesthetic treatment significantly attenuates acute pain responding but does not prevent the neonatal injury-  induced reduction in adult spinal behavioral plasticity.  Behavioral Neuroscience121(5), 1073-1081.

Young, EE, Baumbauer, KM, Hillyer, JE, Patterson, AM, Hoy, KC Jr, Mintz, EM, & Joynes, RL.  (2008).  The neonatal injury-induced spinal learning deficit in adult rats: Central mechanisms.  Behavioral Neuroscience, 122(3), 589-600.

Young, EE, Prentice, TW, Satterlee, D, McCullough, H, Sieve, AN, Johnson, RR, Welsh, T, Welsh, CJR, & Meagher, MW.  (2008).  Glucocorticoid exposure alters the pathogenesis of Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus during acute infection. Physiology and Behavior, 95, 63-71.

Grimes, JS, Creech SK, Young EE, Vichaya EG & Meagher MW.  (2009).  Distraction speeds the decay of fear-induced hyperalgesia:  Evidence for the contribution ofmemorial systems in affective pain modulation.  Journal of Pain, 10(3), 282-292.

Baumbauer, KM, Young, EE & Joynes, RL.  (2009). Pain and learning in a spinal system:  Contradictory outcomes from common origins.  Brain Research   Reviews, 61(2), 124-143.

Young EE, Sieve AN, Vichaya EG, Carcoba LM, Young CR, Ambrus A, Storts R, Welsh CJR & Meagher MW.  (2010).  Chronic restraint stress during early Theiler’s virus infection exacerbates the subsequent demyelinating disease in SJL mice:  Histological evaluation of CNS disease severity.  Journal of Neuroimmunology, 220 (1-2), 79-89.

Vichaya EG, Young EE, Frazier MA, Cook JL, Welsh CJ, & Meagher MW.  (2011).  Social disruption induced priming of CNS inflammatory response to Theiler’s virus is dependent upon stress-induced IL-6 release.  Journal of Neuroimmunology 239(1-2), 44-52.

Young EE, Lariviere WR, & Belfer, I.  (2012).  Genetic basis of pain variability:  RecentAdvances.  Journal of Medical Genetics 49(1), 1-9.
This article was #7 of Medscape’s Most-Read Journal Articles by Anesthesiologists, featured as one of the most popular full-text, peer-reviewed journal articles from hundreds of publications and key societies in February and April 2012.

Young EE, Vichaya EG, Cook JL, Reusser N, Welsh CJR, & Meagher MW.  (2012).  Chronic social stress impairs virus specific adaptive immunity during acute Theiler’s virus infection.  Journal of Neuroimmunology.  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016557281200272X

Young EE, Costigan, M, Herbert TA, & Lariviere WR. (in press). Heritability of Nociception IV:  genetic relationships among inflammatory and neuropathic hypersensitivity assays and other comparisons. Pain.
Accompanied by an invited commentary from Dr. Ze’ev Seltzer

You DS, Creech SK, Vichaya EG, Young EE, Smith JS, and Meagher MW.  (in press). Written emotional disclosure alters secondary hyperalgesia in women with trauma history.  Psychosomatic Med.

Honors & Awards

International Association for the Study of Pain Foreign Travel Award (2012)

Student Recognition Award for Teaching Excellence (Spring 2011)

American Psychological Association Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) Imprinting-Interdivisional Mentoring Fellowship Award

American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Award (2005)

Kent State University, Access Unlimited Teaching Excellence Award

ONTAP Teaching Fellow, Kent State University

Kent State University, Graduate Student Senate Research Grant Award, Master’s Thesis

Professional Activities

Ad hoc reviewer

NeuroMolecular Medicine

Grant reviewer

National Science Foundation Grant Merit Review

Medical Research Council