Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Dr. Linda Watkins

Second Advisor

Dr. Heidi Day

Third Advisor

Dr. Leif Saul

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Stratford


Chronic pain is a widespread and serious issue that imposes on many people’s lives. The most common medication used to treat it is opioids, which can paradoxically lead to hyperalgesia upon cessation of the medication. This is no doubt contributing to the current opioid epidemic in our country. This study aims to optimize the laparotomy animal model to mimic the development of post-operative pain so that it can be used in further studies to improve pain management. Four experiments were conducted to test different methodologies for measuring pain development, memory effects, anhedonia, and inflammation markers in the tissue. These experiments lead to improvements of the model, but more research is still needed to resolve further issues.