Principal Investigators

  • Stephen Bruehl, Ph.D.

    Professor of Anesthesiology

    Dr. Stephen Bruehl is a Professor of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1994, and has worked clinically in the past with chronic pain patients as a member of a multidisciplinary chronic pain management team.  Throughout his career, Dr. Bruehl has conducted research focused on understanding the mechanisms of and factors influencing chronic pain.  He has had long-standing interests in topics that include Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, the influence of endogenous opioids and psychosocial factors on pain, and interactions between the cardiovascular and pain modulatory systems.  His work has more recently focused on identifying factors that predict responses to opioid analgesics, and understanding the mechanisms that contribute to these predictive effects.  He has published more than 160 peer-reviewed articles regarding pain, as well as a number of book chapters regarding CRPS.  Dr. Bruehl has been principal investigator on eight pain-related NIH R01 research projects, and he is Associate Editor of the journals Pain and Annals of Behavioral Medicine.  Dr. Bruehl was as a member of the IASP committee that developed the 2012 IASP diagnostic criteria for CRPS, and was co-leader of the research consortium that conducted the studies validating the Budapest Criteria.  

  • Amanda L. Stone, Ph.D.

    Research Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

    Dr. Stone is a pediatric psychologist whose research and clinical interests focus on pediatric pain. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt University, completed her pre-doctoral clinical residency in child clinical psychology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and a postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric pain at Oregon Health and Science University. Her research program focuses on intergenerational factors associated with pain outcomes and medication use in children in the context of chronic and acute pain. She maintains active research collaborations evaluating the impact of maternal chronic pain on offspring and psychosocial factors influencing pediatric functional abdominal pain outcomes. Dr. Stone is developing a new line of research focused on applying the intergenerational model of pain to children's opioid use following surgery. She is an alumna of the North American Pain School, Pain Research Forum Correspondents Program, and Pain in Child Health (PICH) Research Training Initiative. Dr. Stone is involved in a number of professional societies and serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.


Research Coordinators

  • Sara B. Anderson, B.A.

    Clinical/Translational Research Coordinator

    Sara Anderson graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a B.A. in Sociology. Prior to working in research, Sara spent two years in AmeriCorps NCCC and then went on to work for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Middle TN, helping establish the Rutherford County Office. Sara previously worked with the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program where she interacted with infants to elderly in various vaccine and infectious disease research projects. Since 2017, she has worked with the Pain Research Group on the total knee arthroplasty project.  She most enjoys the interaction she is able to have with all of her participants while helping them have the most positive research experience possible.

  • Melissa Chont, MLAS

    Clinical/Translational Research Coordinator

    Melissa Chont has worked as a research coordinator at Vanderbilt for more than 15 years. She received her Masters degree from Vanderbilt in 2007 and her Bachelors degree from Bowling Green State University in 2002. She won the Roger England Award for Excellence in Support of Research in 2013. Her work with the pain research group has been published in many scientific journals, and she has presented posters associated with this work in three countries and multiple states across the US.