Jarred Younger, PhD

Director and Associate Professor

Jarred Younger received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychophysiology in 2003 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He then completed postdoctoral fellowships at Arizona State University and the Stanford University School of Medicine before taking an assistant professor position at Stanford. In 2014, he joined the faculty at the University of Alabama Birmingham, with a primary appointment in the Department of Psychology and secondary appointments in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Rheumatology. Prof. Younger's goal is to end the chronic pain and fatigue that is caused by inflammation in the brain. He is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and several non-profit agencies to develop techniques for diagnosing and treating neuroinflammation, pain, and fatigue.

Lisa Smoot

Lab Manager

Lisa graduated with a B.S. in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry from UAB. She has over 18 years of experience working in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology. During that time, she has served as a research lab manager, and is also highly experienced in wet lab procedures.

Luke Parkitny, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Luke Parkitny's primary research goal is to gain a better understanding of how the immune system is involved in creating and maintaining chronic pain. He is particularly interested in developing research that may identify the key mechanisms of pain conditions, such as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and fibromyalgia. Having a better grasp of the immune system's role in these conditions may help the future development of better-targeted therapies for pain.

Luke completed an advanced clinical degree in pain management in 2006, however he decided to hang up his clinical hat after becoming increasingly fascinated by the problem of pain. In 2013, he completed his Ph.D. through the School of Medicine at the University of New South Wales in Australia. His doctoral research concerned the potential role of inflammation in the development of CRPS. In 2014, Luke joined the Younger's lab at Stanford University and is continuing his work at UAB under an International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) fellowship. Luke also holds a self-granted advanced certificate in yeast cultivation (read: bread making) and is a keen dabbler in multiple hobbies.

Joanne Lin, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Joanne graduated from the University of Auckland in New Zealand with a Bachelor of Pharmacy with First Class Honors in 2008. After practicing as a registered pharmacist, she completed her Ph.D. in 2013. Her doctoral research investigated the effects of methamphetamine addiction on the human brain with a focus on magnetic resonance imaging and pharmacotherapies for addiction. Joanne joined Younger's lab in December 2013 and is working on several projects with Prof. Younger, including measuring the neural effects of chronic opioid exposure in the treatment of various pain conditions and investigating pain pathways with MRI. Her primary research interests involve neuroimaging, pain, and the effects of prescription/recreational drug use.

Alumni (Stanford University)

Katharine Baker

Research Associate

Katharine received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from The University of Queensland, Australia, in 2009. She has worked in counseling, therapy, and care settings with people with autism and a range of intellectual and physical challenges, and she has worked in research on communication strategies for dementia. She is primarily interested in how diseases or disorders manifest in the brain and how they impact a person's day-to-day life. She spent two years at the Queensland Brain Institute, using electrophysiological and imaging methods to measure brain activity and study the voluntary control of movement. She is particularly interested in brain imaging and other techniques to better understand the mechanisms of chronic pain, with the ultimate goal of working with individuals to support treatment and management of their condition.

Elizabeth Ann Stringer, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Elizabeth Ann, a Nashville native, graduated from Sewanee in 2003 with a B.S. in Physics and from Vanderbilt in 2010 with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. Her doctoral research focused on mapping somatosensory and pain processing in the healthy human brain with ultra high field fMRI at 7T. She is currently working on several projects with Prof. Younger, including measuring the neural effects of chronic opioid exposure in the treatment of various pain syndromes using MRI. Her primary research interests are neuroimaging, pain, addiction, and opioid circuitry.

Laura Jastrzab

Research Associate

Laura earned her graduate degree in psychology from the University of Arizona in 2009. She has worked in various settings (schools, hospitals, outpatient facilities) and with a wide range of patients and families over the past several years. Before joining Younger's lab, she worked in the schools evaluating children for psychological and learning problems. Through her interactions with patients and families over the years, she was inspired to return to academia and pursue research. Laura's primary research interests are in examining the cognitive, psychological, and neurological differences among various conditions. She is interested in understanding how pharmaceuticals and diseases/disorders affect the brain and how we process information, make decisions and interact with the world. Ultimately, she wants to find ways to intervene and improve quality of life. She enjoys learning about neuroimaging techniques, statistics, and research methodology. Laura is currently working for the UCSF Memory and Aging Center.

Stephanie Middleton

Research Associate

Madeleine Bayer

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Marcia Foti

Undergraduate Research Assistant