Current Projects

Ririe Lab Projects

Ririe Lab Projects

The focus of research is on the impact of pain from surgical incision. We are interested in the peripheral neuronal changes and in the changes in afferent sensory processing in the central nervous system. In particular both short and long term effects of excessive ongoing afferent neuronal signaling from the periphery are central issues. To this end, the mechanisms of long term changes in brain circuitry manifest in the adult, which result from early pain exposure, are essential to understanding the impact of early pain and surgery at critical periods of development. The peripheral differences in response to the surgical insult are also a focus as they drive the signaling arriving in the central nervous system and are ultimately responsible for the underlying neuroplasticity. The ultimate goal is to initiate developmentally targeted pain treatment regimens and reduce the long term impact of early surgical intervention.

Responses to Acute Surgical Pain

Ririe Lab Project1


Signaling from peripheral afferent neurons is critical for development of normal synaptic connections in the central nervous system. However, excessive input form these neurons can result in abnormal responses later in life. We are interested in the effects of acute surgical pain on short and long term afferent processing and in the exact alterations in the brain and spinal cord responsible for the developmental differences. 


Regions of Research Focus
Ririe lab project2

  1. Peripheral neural responses to surgical injury during development.
  2. Signal transduction and modulation in the CNS from incision early in life.
  3. Brain plasticity from incision producing long term altered responses. 



Specific Aims of Research Endeavors:

  1. Develop an understanding of the impact of acute surgical pain on afferent processing at different stages of development.
  2. Determine new and effective methods for treating postoperative pain in an age and developmentally targeted manner.
  3. Understand the effects of early exposure to acute surgical pain with respect to long term plastic changes in the central nervous system.



Quick Reference

Pain Mechanisms Lab

Dr. James Eisenach

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Ririe Lab Publications

A concise list of publications by Douglas G. Ririe, M.D. Professor, Pediatric Anesthesiology specializing in pain research.     

Last Updated: 03-12-2015
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