School of Medicine
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Katherine Martucci PHD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Opioids are considered generally not effective for the treatment of FM; however, they are still prescribed to up to an estimated 40% of this patient population. It is currently unknown whether opioids cause negative effects on CNS function, brain reward systems, and long-term clinical outcomes in individuals with FM. I aim to determine how opioids impact pain, reward behavior, and brain function in FM and to create informed protocols for prescribing opioids to individuals with FM.
Instructor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Endometriosis is one of the few disorders in women's health research with little progress made in the last 20 years relative to screening, detection, prognosis, and treatment. Reactive aldehydes, formed during oxidative stress, are produced and elevated in women with endometriosis and are metabolized intracellularly by aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2). My K99/R00 central hypothesis is that the balance of reactive aldehyde production and metabolism underlies endometriosis and endometriosis-associated pain. My research goal of this project is to determine the role of reactive aldehyde production and aldehyde metabolism in endometriosis to identify a novel treatment and biomarker for women suffering from endometriosis.
During the K99 phase (Years 1-2): Aim 1 will determine if reactive aldehyde metabolism influences the development of endometriosis using ALDH2*2 knock-in mice with reduced aldehyde metabolism, an experimental model of endometriosis, and cutting-edge techniques to measure reactive aldehyde production and aldehyde metabolism. Aim 2 will determine if reactive aldehyde metabolism is altered in women with endometriosis using techniques from Aim 1 to analyze human endometrial tissue samples from Caucasian and Asian (*2 variants) women with and without endometriosis provided by the UCSF NIH Human Endometrial Tissue Bank. During the R00 phase (Years 3-5): Aim 3 will determine if reactive aldehyde metabolism influences endometriosis-associated primary abdominal and secondary vaginal pain (hyperalgesia) using an endometriosis experimental model, unique equipment and specialized skills to assess hyperalgesia, and a novel ALDH2 activator (to increase reactive aldehyde metabolism).
Overall, my research will advance the knowledge of how reactive aldehyde production and metabolism contribute to endometriosis development and its associated pain. If my hypothesis is found to be true, my research findings will potentially provide a therapeutic and diagnostic biomarker to reduce the years of unnecessary suffering for the 176 million women world-wide with endometriosis.