Kyle Baumbauer (Award in Pain Recipient) earned a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in sociology from the University of Central Florida. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Kent State University, where he studied molecular mechanisms that allow neurons in the spinal cord to mediate learning and adaptation to the environment. This research contributed to an emerging view of the spinal cord not merely as a channel for signals traveling to and from the brain, but as a dynamic group of nerves with important effects on behavior. Baumbauer continued this area of research while a postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M University, and explored how painful stimulation impacts spinal cord function to understand how the presence of pain affects the recovery of function after spinal cord injury. Baumbauer then did a second fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh, where he began examining the impact of injury and inflammation on peripheral sensory neuron function.
In 2014 Baumbauer joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing, where his research focuses on unraveling the relationship between alterations in gene expression and sensory neuron function, and how these processes contribute to chronic pain following spinal cord injury. Through these investigations, Baumbauer and his team aim to make advances that aid in the treatment of pathological pain. In addition to the Rita Allen Foundation Baumbauer’s research is supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He is also a recipient of a Mary Lawrence Research Development Award from the UConn School of Nursing and has been honored as a Sigma Theta Tau Friend of Nursing.