Photo of Ericka Meriwether

Ericka Merriwether, PT, DPT, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Physical Therapy
Director, Inclusive and Translational Research in Pain Laboratory (I-TRIP)
New York University

Mass Appeal: Widespread Pain in Adults with Higher BMIs

Ericka N. Merriwether, PT, DPT, PhD is the Director of the Inclusive and Translational Research in Pain Laboratory (I-TRIP). The goal of her research is to identify targets for culturally responsive, multimodal practitioner-guided and self-management interventions for chronic widespread pain in adults with higher BMIs. As steps toward achieving that goal, Dr. Merriwether's current projects focus on identifying the most relevant biological, psychological, and socioecological drivers of chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, and how select drivers of chronic pain respond to surgical weight loss. This highly interdisciplinary work employs a variety of clinical and translational research methodologies. 

Dr. Merriwether earned her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She went on to earn her DPT from the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, and her PhD in Movement Science from Washington University in St. Louis. 

Dr. Merriwether completed her postdoctoral training in pain neuroscience in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science with the mentorship of Dr. Kathleen Sluka at the University of Iowa. Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Foundation for Physical Therapy, and she has several publications. Dr. Merriwether serves in national and international leadership positions. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the United States Association for the Study of Pain (USASP) and the Co-Chair of the Sex, Gender, and Racial Differences in Pain Special Interest Group in the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). Dr. Merriwether is also an Editorial Board member for the Journal of Pain, Frontiers in Pain Research, and the Neurobiology of Pain. In addition, Dr. Merriwether currently serves as an executive board member of the Anti-racism CoaliTION in Pain Research (ACTION-PR). ACTION – PR is a multidisciplinary coalition of scientists, clinicians, and NIH policy makers that advocates for methodologies and scientific narratives that promote global equity, inclusion, belonging, and access in pain research praxis and clinical management. Last, but certainly not least, Dr. Merriwether is a proud native of Chicago’s Austin Community on the city’s West side, and is the mother of two amazing children.

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Durga (DP) Mohapatra, PhD
Program Director
Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience

Understanding Human Pain for Personalized Pain Management: NIH Programs and Opportunities

Dr. DP Mohapatra directs and leads several programs in NINDS and in NIH HEAL Initiative, such as PRECISION Human Pain Network, Integrated Basic & Clinical Team Science in Pain, and Understanding Individual Differences in Human Pain Conditions and Comorbidities, as well as a large research portfolio in Mechanistic Translational Pain Research, Mechanistic Pain Clinical Trials, Itch, Peripheral Somatosensation, Glia/Microglia and Neuroimmune Biology at NINDS. Prior to joining NINDS, Dr. Mohapatra was a tenured Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He received his PhD in Human Biology at Friedrich Alexander University Faculty of Medicine at Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, and subsequently received postdoctoral training at University of California, Davis. He started his faculty position in 2008 as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Anesthesiology at The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and subsequently rose to tenured Associate Professorship. By training and during independent faculty career his research programs focused on basic and translational pain research. He is a committed teacher and mentor for many trainees at multiple career stages, several of whom now hold independent academic faculty and research positions at leading institutions across the globe.