Leading in Science – Erin Young and Kyle Baumbauer Team


“Since nursing is a practice profession, practice must form one cornerstone of our profession. At the same time, since it is . . . a profession, research, the discovery of new knowledge, the testing out of such knowledge, and the construction of a scientific base for practice, must form the other cornerstone.” – Dean Marlene Kramer (1981).

What UConn School of Nursing’s third dean, Marlene Kramer, foresaw 35 years ago was that students’ education in evidence-based practice would be built upon the School’s robust research activities. That vision has become a reality today in the School’s cadre of interdisciplinary and inter-professional researchers and scholars and in its two centers of research excellence.

A decade after the School’s founding in 1942, the inaugural issue of a new journal, Nursing Research, announced that: Working closely with the medical profession and the social scientists, nurses are in a fortunate position to conduct research. The methods of both the physical and social sciences can be utilized as we seek for improved practice and for increased understanding of the health needs of society.

Today, the School’s Center for Advancement in Managing Pain (CAMP), directed by nurse researcher Professor Angela Starkweather, includes interdisciplinary colleagues, Assistant Professor Kyle Baumbauer, PhD, a pain physiologist, and Assistant Professor Erin Young, PhD, a pain geneticist.

The School has long welcomed non-nurse scientists like Baumbauer and Young who bring their expertise to students and colleagues in the School and throughout the University.

Educated in psychology, sociology, and experimental psychology at the University of Central Florida and Kent State University, Baumbauer is also jointly appointed in the UConn Health Department of Neuroscience, a member of the Institute for Systems Genomics, and an affiliate in the Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention. A focus of his work has been spinal cord injury. He is currently a co-investigator in a research study of lower back pain sensitivity (funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research), the establishment of the Center of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPE, designated by the National Institutes of Health), and animal studies. He is principal investigator on a study of the functional consequences of spinal cord injury on cutaneous nociceptors (funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke).

Educated in biology, physics, neuroscience, and experimental biological psychology at Wesleyan College and Kent State University, Young is jointly appointed in the UConn School of Medicine’s Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences. Previously she held research positions in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology and in Behavioral and Cellular Neuroscience at Texas A&M University.

A focus of her work has been bowel pain. She is co-investigator on several research studies with the School of Nursing’s senior research faculty or as a mentor for doctoral students: a study of bio-genomic markers for management of neonatal abstinence syndrome (funded by an InCHIP Seed Grant), another of pain sensitivity in lower back pain (funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research), the CoEPE startup, a Center in Self-Management in Symptoms project (funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research), and doctoral students’ studies funded by Sigma Theta Tau International’s Mu Chapter, the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, and the Foundation for Neonatal Research and Education.

Working in collaboration with nurse faculty members, Baumbauer and Young have developed a 12-credit hour online graduate certificate program that will provide an interprofessional learning opportunity for nurses, physicians, and other health professionals. The Pain Management certificate meshes scholarly work with practice in an engaging 4-course program incorporating top UConn pain management researchers and educators.

Baumbauer and Young have also collaborated on several studies and articles, each leveraging their distinctive expertise in the physiological and genetic foundations of pain bringing their discoveries to the School of Nursing.     Learn more about CAMP