sarah sweitzer Sarah M. Sweitzer
Associate Professor
Postdoctoral: Stanford Univ School of Medicine
Ph.D: Dartmouth Medical School
BS: University of Nevada, Reno 
Contact Information:
Phone: 803-216-3517
Fax: 803-216-3538

Research Focus:

Studies to determine how early pain experiences may sensitize children to pain later in life: We postulate that early and repeated exposure to endothelin-1, as occurs during a sickle cell episode, sensitizes the organism thus, producing greater pain responses upon subsequent exposure,

sweitzer lab photo
   Immunohistochemistry of the skin showing nerve    fibers in green (left figure) and endothelin B    receptor in white (right figure)
and decreasing opioid analgesia. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie these changes will identify novel molecular targets for the treatment of pain during sickle cell episodes.

Studies to determine how fetal alcohol exposure alters pain and analgesia across the lifespan:With estimates of fetal alcohol exposure ranging from 1-10 in 1000 births it is important to assess whether alterations in pain processing are a part of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Pre-clinical development of new therapies for the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain: Neuropathic pain is often refractory to current therapies.  Our laboratory is focused on pre-clinical development of a gene based strategy to over-express opioid receptors and their endogenous ligands as an alternative therapeutic approach to treat neuropathic pain. 

Recent Publications

Pubmed Link
  • McClellan, C. B., Schatz, J. C., Mark. T. R. M., McKelvy, A. Puffer, E,., Roberts, C. &Sweitzer, S. (2009) Criterion and Convergent Validity for Four Measures of Pain in a Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease Population. Clinical Journal of Pain, 25 (2), 146-152.
  • McKelvy AD, Sweitzer SM.  Endothelin-1 exposure on postnatal day 7 alters expression of the endothelin B receptor and behavioral sensitivity to endothelin-1 on postnatal day 11.  Neuroscience Letters, 13, 89-93,  2009.
  • Zhang G, Sweitzer SM. Neonatal morphine enhances nociception and decreases analgesia in young rats.  Brain Research, 1199, 82-90, 2008.
  • Zhang G, Muhammad H, Raja S, Wilson SP, Sweitzer SM.  Enhanced peripheral analgesia using virally mediated gene transfer of the mu opioid receptor in mice. Anesthesiology 108, 305-13, 2008.
  • McKelvy AD, Mark TM, Sweitzer SM.  Age and sex-specific nociceptive responses to endothelin-1.  J of Pain 8, 657-66, 2007.
  • Velázquez KT, Mohammad H, Sweitzer SM.  Protein kinase C in pain: Involvement of multiple isoforms.  Pharmacological Research, 55, 578-89, 2007.