Pierce's research focused on mechanisms relating early life stress in females to chronic pain in adulthood. Her current interests are to examine health outcomes associated with premature birth and stays in neonatal intensive care units.


Stress and chronic pain 

Infants and children that are exposed to chronic stressors early in life are at increased risk to develop chronic pain &/or mood disorders in adulthood.  This project evaluates molecular and cellular mechanisms associated with investigating the underlying perturbations in the way the brain processes stress and pain.



Stress and exacerbation of pain


Patients suffering from chronic pain commonly report an increase in their symptoms during times of acute stress.  This project investigates the molecular and cellular mechanisms associated with this phenomenon.  



Treating chronic pain


Chronic pain syndromes are notoriously difficult to treat, particularly when the cause of the pain is unknown. This project investigates the potential benefit of using complementary approaches to treating &/or preventing the onset of stress-associated chronic pain.