Development of a Pre-clinical Model of Chronic Low Back Pain that Mimics Human Disease

Date(s) - 11/14/2022
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Communicore, C1-009

Becky Wachs, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Dr. Becky Wachs is an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Wachs did her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, M.Eng. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and her postdoctoral work in Neural Engineering at the University of Florida.  During her degrees, Dr. Wachs also worked two different industry positions in microscopy and biologics.  Her current work focuses on engineering treatments and developing models of chronic orthopedic pain.


Chronic low back pain is an epidemic that affects up to 20% of the population in their lifetime. Many of these patients exhibit robust nerve growth, chronic inflammation, and altered mechanics of their intervertebral disc. Current conservative treatments including anti-inflammatories and opioid prescriptions have limited long-term efficacy. Surgical fusion is the last line of defense to treat chronic low back pain and can often fail or lead to adjacent level degeneration. Very few new treatments for chronic pain have been successfully translated because of inaccurate pre-clinical models. Thus, this seminar will focus on the development of a robust model of chronic low back pain that more accurately mimics human pain presentation and disease pathology.  Further, this seminar will discuss the screening of novel treatments to target aberrant nerve growth, inflammation, and altered mechanics to alleviate chronic low back pain.