Division of Intramural Research
Clinical Investigations Branch
Brian Walitt, M.D., M.P.H., is Acting Clinical Director of the Clinical Investigations Branch (CIB) in the NCCIH Intramural Research Program. The CIB promotes high quality mechanistic clinical research targeted at understanding the development and maintenance of chronic pain, as well as novel non-pharmacological treatment modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, meditation, and music. The CIB provides a clinical setting and the medical expertise to evaluate people with wide-ranging painful disorders. Working together, NCCIH clinicians and scientists examine clinical characteristics of painful conditions and their co-morbidities and explore the physiological underpinnings of these conditions. They use sensory physiological testing, structural and functional MRI in addition to behavioral and psychological testing to understand how cognitive, emotional and environmental factors influence chronic pain states. Insights from this research can ultimately be translated into meaningful interventions to provide comfort for those who live with pain.
Brian Walitt, M.D., M.P.H, is Acting Clinical Director of the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) and Acting Chief of the Clinical Investigations Branch (DIR) at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
Dr. Walitt serves in many different roles at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition to his work at NCCIH, he also serves as the Medical Officer for both the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). He is also the Lead Associate Investigator on the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS) Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at NIH protocol. Dr. Walitt collaborates with other scientists at these institutes to better understand the biological mechanisms for a wide array of symptoms, including their effects on patients and how patients respond to interventions. Increasing scientific understanding of the nature of symptoms will provide affected individuals and their families with more clarity about their symptoms and potentially translate into meaningful interventions. Read more about Dr. Walitt.
Bisi Ayodele, CRNP, Nurse Practitioner
Bisi Ayodele, CRNP, is a nurse practitioner in the Clinical Investigations Branch. She can be reached at email@example.com or (301) 827-0415.
Linda Ellison-Dejewski, CRNP, Senior Nurse Practitioner
Linda Ellison-Dejewski, CRNP, is a senior nurse practitioner in the Clinical Investigations Branch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (301) 594-5731.
Steven Neal, Postbac IRTA
Steven Neal is a postbac IRTA in the Clinical Investigations Branch. He can be reached at email@example.com or (301) 451-2232.
Zahid Noor, Ph.D., Protocol Navigator, Contractor
Zahid Noor, Ph.D., is a protocol navigator in the Clinical Investigations Branch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (301) 480-9912.
Marina Shpaner, Ph.D., Research Scientist
- Naylor MR, Keefe FJ, Brigidi B, et al. Therapeutic interactive voice response for chronic pain reduction and relapse prevention. Pain. 2008;134(3):335-345.
- Newhouse PA, Dumas J, Wilkins H, Coderre E, Sites CK, Naylor M, et al. Estrogen treatment impairs cognitive performance after psychosocial stress and monoamine depletion in postmenopausal women. Menopause. 2010;17(4):860-873.
- Naylor MR, Naud S, Keefe F, et al. Therapeutic Interactive Voice Response (TIVR) to reduce analgesic medication use for chronic pain management. Journal of Pain. 2010;11(12):1410-1419.
- Naylor MR, Krauthamer GM, Naud S, et al. Predictive relationships between chronic pain and negative emotion: a 4-month daily process study using Therapeutic Interactive Voice Response (TIVR). Comprehensive Psychiatry. 2011;52(6):731-736.
- Lieberman G, Naylor MR. Interactive voice response technology for symptom monitoring and as an adjunct to the treatment of chronic pain. Translational Behavioral Medicine. 2012;2(1):93-101.
- Dumas JA, Kutz AM, McDonald BC, Naylor MR, et al. Increased working memory-related brain activity in middle-aged women with cognitive complaints. Neurobiology of Aging. 2013;34(4):1145-1147.
- Seminowicz DA, Shpaner M, Keaser ML, Krauthamer GM, Mantegna J, Dumas JA, Newhouse PA, Filippi CG, Keefe FJ, Naylor MR. Cognitive-behavioral therapy increases prefrontal cortex gray matter in patients with chronic pain. Journal of Pain. 2013;14(12):1573-1584.
- Newhouse P, Albert K, Astur R, Johnson J, Naylor M, et al. Tamoxifen improves cholinergically modulated cognitive performance in postmenopausal women. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013;38(13):2632-2643.
- Lieberman G, Shpaner M, Watts R, Andrews T, Filippi CG, Davis M, Naylor MR. White matter involvement in chronic musculoskeletal pain. Journal of Pain. 2014;15(11):1110-1119.
- Shpaner M, Kelly C, Lieberman G, Perelman H, Davis M, Keefe F, Naylor MR. Unlearning chronic pain: a randomized controlled trial to investigate changes in intrinsic brain connectivity following cognitive behavioral therapy. NeuroImage: Clinical. 2014;5:365-376.
- Wylie GR, Freeman K, Thomas A, Shpaner M, OKeefe M, Watts R, Naylor MR. Cognitive improvement after mild traumatic brain injury measured with functional neuroimaging during the acute period. PLoS One. 2015;10(5):e0126110.
- Vega JN, Zurkovsky L, Albert K, Melo A, Boyd B, Dumas J, Woodward N, McDonald BC, Saykin AJ, Park JH, Naylor M, et al. Altered brain connectivity in early postmenopausal women with subjective cognitive impairment. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2016;10:433.
- Dumas JA, Filippi CG, Newhouse PA, Naylor MR. Dopaminergic contributions to working memory-related brain activation in postmenopausal women. Menopause. 2017;24(2):163-170.
- Shpaner M, Tulipani LJ, Bishop JH, Naylor MR. The vicious cycle of chronic pain in aging requires multidisciplinary non-pharmacological approach to treatment. Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports. 2017;4(3):176-187.
- Thomas AW, Watts R, Filippi CG, Nickerson JP, Andrews T, Lieberman G, Naylor MR, et al. Dynamic changes in diffusion measures improve sensitivity in identifying patients with mild traumatic brain injury. PLoS One. 2017;12(6):e0178360.
- Bishop J, Shpaner M, Kubicki A, Clements S, Watts R, Naylor MR. Structural network differences in chronic musculoskeletal pain: beyond fractional anisotropy. NeuroImage. December 11, 2017. Epub ahead of print.