So what does sleep have to do with joint pain anyway?

Date(s) - 12/04/2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Communicore, C1-11

Heidi Kloefkorn, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University

Sleep is an integral part of our lives, but we understand little about its impact on degenerative joint disease onset and progression, especially in conditions that involved chronic pain. While chronic pain and sleep have a well-established negatively reinforcing relationship, little is known about how that catch-22 impacts joint disease from both mental and physiological perspectives. This relationship is further complicated as joint disease largely affects aging populations who can also experience independent circadian rhythm breakdown and chronic pain. Dr. Kloefkorn will discuss the technologies and preclinical approaches her lab uses, including behavior phenotyping, electrophysiology, noninvasive sensors, and open-source analytics to unravel the interplay between sleep, pain, and joint disease.


Dr. Heidi Kloefkorn is an assistant professor in Bioengineering at Oregon State University. She received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology before completing a doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida in orthopaedics advised by Dr. Kyle Allen. Dr. Kloefkorn pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience through the competitive Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching (FIRST) Program at Emory University, with her work resulting in a patent in noninvasive sensors. Her current work focuses on understanding the interplay between sleep and pain in degenerative joint disease. Through collaborative, multidisciplinary approaches, her group creates noninvasive technologies to assess pathogenic behavior and physiology in preclinical rodent models. These tools are then used to examine mechanisms for how circadian rhythm disruption contributes to osteoarthritis onset and progression. Dr. Kloefkorn consistently supports under-represented populations in STEM through her teaching, service, and mentorship.