2018 IARS Mentored Research Award
Kathleen Meacham, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Meacham’s Research

A wireless system for the mechanistic study of spinal cord stimulation

Dr. Kathleen Meacham (M.D./Ph.D., BME) is a pain fellow at Washington University in St. Louis with the long-term goal of contributing to the field of Anesthesiology as an independent investigator studying mechanisms of neuromodulation for pain control. The following IMRA describes specific and essential training needed to achieve this goal, through a focused two-year research plan and training in the specific areas of pain neurobiology, diagnostic electrophysiology, and translational pain medicine. The proposed research involves a focused investigation into mechanisms of kilohertz-frequency spinal-cord stimulation (SCSKHF), which is a new and effective therapy for chronic pain patients with unclear mechanisms-of-action. The Aims begin with the necessary development, testing, and refinement of a novel, wireless, chronically-implanted SCS device that can (1) provide clinically-relevant analgesia in a rat model of neuropathic pain and (2) activate dorsal-column structures in ways similar to those measured in patients. The device is then proposed for use in fundamental studies to identify the neural structures first activated in the spinal cord by SCSKHF. Such insights would advance our ability to improve current SCS systems for better results in treating chronic pain, which is of critical importance to the field of Anesthesiology. Dr. Meacham’s primary mentor, Professor Robert W. Gereau IV, PhD, a recognized leader in the field of pain medicine and has successfully mentored over 15 post-doctoral researchers. The assembled advisory committee includes successful clinical researchers, engineering researchers and physician-scientists, each of whom will provide valuable and distinct career and research guidance. Washington University in Saint Louis is an optimal training environment and provides extensive resources, collaborations, core facilities, and intellectual expertise for the optimal support of Dr. Meacham for the proposed IMRA.