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Neuroscience PhD at Wake Forest University at Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University Graduate School » Neuroscience PhD at Wake Forest University

James Eisenach

James Eisenach

Dr. Eisenach, the overall director of the laboratory, has a long history of scientific review and administration and of NIH funded research. He is the recipient of over $12 million in R01 support and $2 million in industry support since coming to Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 1985, and is currently PI on two RO1 grants and Co-PI on two other R01 grants. He was the PI for the pivotal multi-center trial leading to FDA approval of epidural clonidine for intractable neuropathic pain associated with cancer. Dr. Eisenach holds 4 INDs from the FDA for novel analgesic drugs and one patent for a novel treatment for pain in women. He is a past member and chairman of the Anesthetic and Life Support Drugs Advisory Committee at the FDA. In addition to serving on several review committees for the NIH, VA, and national anesthesiology societies, he has been the Vice-Chairman for Research in the Department of Anesthesiology since 1998. Dr. Eisenach has trained 30 post-doctoral and undergraduate fellows and students since 1985. He has organized two major pain symposia at IASP international meetings.  He is the current Editor-in-Chief of Anesthesiology.

Education & Training

  • B.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln , 1976
  • M.D., University of California Sch of Med-SanFrancisco , 1982
  • M.S., California Institute of Technology , 1978
  • Internship, Medicine, Mount Zion Hosp & Med Ctr, 1983
  • Residency, Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, 1985
  • Fellowship, WFU School of Medicine, 1986

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Anesthesiology


  • Am Medical Assn
  • Am Pain Society
  • Am Soc Of Anesthesiologists



Eisenach Lab Projects Under NIH grant GM48085 we are studying the role of spinally produced prostaglandins in pain and hypersensitivity.  In the lab we are examining the factors which activate cyclooxygenase (COX) activity in microglia after peripheral surgery and nerve injury (Figure).  In the clinic we are testing the effect of selective inhibition of spinal COX by spinal injection of ketorolac in various pain states.
Under NIH grant NS57594 we are examining plasticity of descending inhibition in chronic neuropathic pain. In the lab we have observed that there is paradoxical sprouting of inhibitory noradrenergic fibers in the spinal cord after nerve injury, and are focusing on the role of BDNF in causing this sprouting and its consequences. We are also testing in the lab how gabapentin activates descending inhibition and in the clinic and lab how this activation can be amplified by approved drugs which inhibit the norepinephrine transporter (duloxetine) and acetylcholinesterase (donepezil).


Gutierrez S, Hayashida K, Eisenach JC. The puerperium alters spinal cord plasticity following peripheral nerve injury. Neuroscience. 2013;228():301-308.


Kimura M, Hayashida K, Eisenach JC, Saito S, Obata H. Relief of hypersensitivity after nerve injury from systemic donepezil involves spinal cholinergic and gamma-aminobutyric acid mechanisms. Anesthesiology. 2013;118(1):173-180.


Gutierrez S, Liu B, Hayashida K, Houle TT, Eisenach JC. Reversal of peripheral nerve injury-induced hypersensitivity in the postpartum period: role of spinal oxytocin. Anesthesiology. 2013;118(1):152-159.


Eisenach JC, Pan P, Smiley RM, Lavand'homme P, Landau R, Houle TT.Resolution of pain after childbirth. Anesthesiology. 2013;118(1):143-151.


Eisenach JC. Case reports are leaving Anesthesiology, but not the specialty [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2013;118(3):479-480.


Pan PH, Tonidandel AM, Aschenbrenner CA, Houle TT, Harris LC, Eisenach JC.Predicting acute pain after cesarean delivery using three simple questions. Anesthesiology. 2013;118(5):1170-1179.


Turner D, Miller S, Aschenbrenner C, Houle T, Eisenach J. Predicting pain after joint surgery [abstract]. J Pain. 2013;14(4 Suppl 1):S15.


Hayashida K-i, Peters CM, Gutierrez S, Eisenach JC. Depletion of endogenous noradrenaline does not prevent spinal cord plasticity following peripheral nerve injury. J Pain. 2012;13(1):49-57.




Turner DP, Smitherman TA, Eisenach JC, Penzien DB, Houle TT. Predictors of headache before, during, and after pregnancy: a cohort study. Headache. 2012;52(3):348-362.


Martucci K, Eisenach J, North J, Rauck R, Tong C, Wilson K, Coghill R. Offset analgesia in complex regional pain syndrome [abstract]. J Pain. 2012;13(4 Suppl):S47.


Devereaux PJ, Chan MTV, Eisenach J, Schricker T, Sessler DI. The need for large clinical studies in perioperative medicine [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2012;116(6):1169-1175.


Martucci KT, Eisenach JC, Tong C, Coghill RC. Opioid-independent mechanisms supporting offset analgesia and temporal sharpening of nociceptive information. Pain. 2012;153(6):1232-1243.





Boada MD, Gutierrez S, Giffear K, Eisenach JC, Ririe DG. Skin incision-induced receptive field responses of mechanosensitive peripheral neurons are developmentally regulated in the rat. J Neurophysiol. 2012;108(4):1122-1129.


Eisenach JC. It's a bright and sunny day: anesthesiology in 2011 [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2011;114(1):24.



Eisenach JC. Note of editorial concern [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2011;115(3):463.





Hains LE, Loram LC, Taylor FR, Strand KA, Wieseler JL, Barrientos RM, Young JJ, Frank MG, Sobesky J, Martin TJ, Eisenach JC, Maier SF, Johnson JD, Fleshner M, Watkins LR. Prior laparotomy or corticosterone potentiates lipopolysaccharide-induced fever and sickness behaviors. J Neuroimmunol. 2011;239(1-2):53-60.


Booth JL, Harris L, Fish R, Pan P, Eisenach J. Improving pain relief for those who need it most after cesarean delivery [abstract]. In: Abstracts of the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA); 2011 Oct 15-19; Chicago (IL). 2011;():A432.


Ririe DG, Boada DM, Martin TJ, Boyden ES, Eisenach JC. Optical inhibition of neurons in whole rat dorsal root ganglion after in vivo intrathecal viral vector induced expression of the optically active proton pump Arch-T [abstract]. In: Abstracts of the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA); 2011 Oct 15-19; Chicago (IL). 2011;():A391.


Eisenach JC. Washington University and the why of anesthesiology [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2011;115(6):1145-1146.




Yaksh TL, Eisenach JC, Shafer SL. Consent contraindicated? [letter]. Science. 2010;328(5974):45.


Eisenach JC. To our readers: an experiment in education [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2010;112(1):1-2.



Eisenach JC, Curry R, Tong C, Houle TT, Yaksh TL. Effects of intrathecal ketorolac on human experimental pain. Anesthesiology. 2010;112(5):1216-1224.


Eisenach JC, Curry R, Rauck R, Pan P, Yaksh TL. Role of spinal cyclooxygenase in human postoperative and chronic pain. Anesthesiology. 2010;112(5):1225-1233.


Eisenach JC, Sumikawa K, Makita T, Cho S. Anesthesiology and the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists: the science is amazing [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2010;112(6):1301-1302.



Martucci K, Eisenach J, Tong C, Coghill R. Early and delayed effects of intravenous administration of remifentanil and naloxone on sensitivity to thermal stimuli [abstract]. J Pain. 2010;11(4 Suppl 1):S31.



Peters CM, Hayashida K-i, Ewan EE, Nakajima K, Obata H, Xu Q, Yaksh TL, Eisenach JC. Lack of analgesic efficacy of spinal ondansetron on thermal and mechanical hypersensitivity following spinal nerve ligation in the rat. Brain Res. 2010;1352():83-93.


Hains LE, Loram LC, Weiseler JL, Frank MG, Bloss EB, Sholar P, Taylor FR, Harrison JA, Martin TJ, Eisenach JC, et al. Pain intensity and duration can be enhanced by prior challenge: initial evidence suggestive of a role of microglial priming. J Pain. 2010;11(10):1004-1014.


Turner DP, Houle TT, Eisenach JC, Pan PH. Peripartum experience of problem headache sufferers [abstract]. Headache. 2010;50(Suppl 1):S21.


Eisenach JC. Why is Karolinska on the cover of an American journal? [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2010;113(6):1257.


Boada MD, Houle TT, Eisenach JC, Ririe DG. Differing neurophysiologic mechanosensory input from glabrous and hairy skin in juvenile rats. J Neurophysiol. 2010;104(6):3568-3575.


Martucci KT, Eisenach JC, Tong C, Coghill RC. Paradoxical increases in offset analgesia during acute opioid induced hypersensitivity [abstract]. In: Abstracts of the 13th World Congress on Pain; 2010 Aug 29 - Sept 2; Montreal, Quebec (Canada). 2010;():abstr 225.


Eisenach JC, Shafer SL, Pollard BJ. Reply to Fospropofol assay: issues and impact on pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic evaluation [reply to letter]. Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2009;26(1):81-82.


Eisenach JC, Shafer SL, Pollard BJ. Fospropofol assay issues and impact on pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic evaluation [reply to letter]. Anesth Analg. 2009;108(1):382-383.




Eisenach JC. Curiosity, discipline, and joy; and the greatest of these is joy [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2009;110(4):712-713.


Pan PH, Eisenach JC. The pain of childbirth and its effect on the mother and the fetus In: Chestnut DH, Polley LS, Tsen LC, Wong CA, eds. Chestnut's obstetric anesthesia: principles and practice. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Mosby/Elsevier;2009: 387-404.



Ross VH, Pan PH, Owen MD, Seid MH, Harris L, Clyne B, Voltaire M, Eisenach JC.Neostigmine decreases bupivacaine use by patient-controlled epidural analgesia during labor: a randomized controlled study. Anesth Analg. 2009;109(2):524-531.


Martucci KT, Eisenach JC, Tong C, Coghill RC. Comparison of heat hyperalgesia following intravenous administration of naloxone and remifentanil [abstract]. Soc Neurosci Abstr. 2009;2009(Neuroscience Meeting Planner):.



Pan PH, Paitsel B, Eisenach J. Is CSF oxytocin concentration different between immediate postpartum and non-peripartum patients? [abstract]. In: Abstracts of the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA); 2009 Oct 17-21; New Orleans (LA). 2009;():A859.


Fisher DM, Eisenach JC. Science marches forward: a new tool to study the progress of labor [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2009;111(5):936-937.


Borgeat A, Brennan TJ, Eisenach JC, Hemmings HC Jr, Isono S, Kersten JR, Kochs E, Riou B, Warner DS. 2009 in review: advancing medicine in anesthesiology. Anesthesiology. 2009;111(6):1192-1196.


Eisenach JC. To our authors [editorial]. Anesthesiology. 2009;111(6):1189-1191.


Houle TT, Eisenach JC. The need for perspective [reply to letter]. Anesthesiology. 2009;111(6):1386-1387.