Larissa J Strath

Larissa J Strath,

Assistant Professor

Business Phone: (352) 294-5800
Business Email:

About Larissa J Strath

My research is largely focused on the effects that dietary composition has on the modulation of the pain experience, specifically through epigenetic and immune mechanisms. With that in mind, I have dealt with a variety of painful conditions and pathologies (i.e. chronic low back pain, knee osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia etc.) and understanding of nutrient status and their effects on the system at a variety of ages (i.e. inflammation and oxidative stress). My areas of expertise include nutritional biochemistry, pain medicine, neuroscience, and epigenetics. My experience crosses borders, having basic science, clinical science, and epidemiological opportunities over the course of my doctoral and postdoctoral training. My PhD work at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB; PI: Dr. Robert Sorge) employed the use of nutritive models to identify factors that may contribute substantially to the development and perpetuation of chronic pain, with an emphasis on sex, gender and racial disparities therein. I have extensive experimental skills in the acquisition, protocol design and execution, and analyses of a variety of nutrition-based models (i.e. diet pattern analysis, nutrient analysis, Dietary Inflammatory Index) in humans and rodents. I have advanced theoretical and practical skills in designing, implementing and analyzing various neuroscience-based pain-related measures. My doctoral training gave me extensive experience in the use of dynamic quantitative sensory testing, as well as experience investigating blood-based inflammatory and oxidative stress mediators and standardized measures of psychosocial assessment. At the University of Florida (UF; PI: Dr. Yenisel Cruz-Almeida), my postdoctoral tenure afforded me a unique opportunity to employ my research skills related to nutri-biological and psychosocial pain phenotyping in an aging population and to expand the existing body of literature specific to epigenetic and neuroscientific pain-related mechanisms. My current research interests center around understanding the nutriepigenomic mechanisms that contribute to the pain experience observed in various types of acute and chronic pain. Additionally, I am also interested in how the nutriepigenomic/pain relationship impacts cognition and the development of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease over time. To that end, I received the prestigious K99/R00 Pathways to Independence Award from the National Instute on Aging. The K99 phase of the project revealed significant associations of nutrition status with pain and disability outcomes, as well as cognitive functioning. My research endeavors moving forward aim to include individuals with mild cognitive impairment to observe associations in this group between pain, nutrition, metabolomics, and epigenetics. My long-term goal is to combine nutriepigeneomic approaches to develop a program of research investigating the mechanisms, prevention, and treatment strategies through nutritional avenues to combat comorbid chronic pain and cognitive disease as one ages.

Additional Positions:
2024 – Current · (HOBI) Student Experience Committee


Junior Investigator of the Year for Pain in Older Persons
2023 · International Association for the Study of Pain
Gregg Steele Outstanding Graduate Student in Behavioral Neuroscience
2021 · The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Teaching Profile

Courses Taught
DEN6251 Clin Manage Dent Pain
Teaching Philosophy
My teaching philosophy rests on three primary objectives. First, I want my students to learn the fundamental content of the course I am teaching. Second, I believe in orienting students to both the science and application of a discipline. Within the biomedical field, a disconnect often exists between professionals who primarily conduct research and those who primarily provide patient care. Providing students with a scientific perspective (i.e., research, theory), as well as the application perspective (i.e., how can this information be used in the real world pragmatically) of the content of the course is an important step in bridging this gap. Furthermore, I believe is important for all levels of students and trainees to develop an appreciation and understanding of both pre-clinical and clinical research and the importance of continuous cross – talk (i.e., translational research). Finally, and most importantly, my aim is to teach critical thinking skills which will transfer across domains. In any career, the ability to critically think is imperative. However, research suggests that numerous adults in our society, including college graduates, employ flawed thinking. In a world where an enormous amount of information is a click away via the internet, students and trainees must not be passive observers but know how to judge, analyze, and synthesize the available information. I also strive to provide students with opportunities in which they can become an active agent in their own learning process through the use of writing, class/group discussion, and questioning.

Research Profile

Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID)


Areas of Interest
  • Aging
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Chronic Pain
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Clinical Translational Neuroscience
  • Epigenetics
  • Immune-Mediated Disease
  • Interventional pain medicine
  • Neuroimmune interactions in Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Nutrition and Wellness


Epigenetic Aging: A Socio-Biological Link to Chronic Pain?
The journal of pain. 25(2):572-573 [DOI] 10.1016/j.jpain.2023.11.007. [PMID] 37984508.
Food insecurity is associated with chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain in the USA
Public Health Nutrition. 27(1) [DOI] 10.1017/s1368980023002732.
Perspective: Promoting Healthy Aging through Nutrition: A Research Centers Collaborative Network Workshop Report.
Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). 15(4) [DOI] 10.1016/j.advnut.2024.100199. [PMID] 38432592.
Race-specific associations: inflammatory mediators and chronic low back pain.
Pain. [DOI] 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000003154. [PMID] 38323608.
Socioeconomic Status, Knee Pain, and Epigenetic Aging in Community-Dwelling Middle-to-Older Age Adults.
The journal of pain. 25(2):293-301 [DOI] 10.1016/j.jpain.2023.06.002. [PMID] 37315728.
A Brief Overview: Sex Differences in Prevalent Chronic Musculoskeletal Conditions.
International journal of environmental research and public health. 20(5) [DOI] 10.3390/ijerph20054521. [PMID] 36901530.
Altered response to Toll-like receptor 4 activation in fibromyalgia: A low-dose, human experimental endotoxemia pilot study.
Brain, behavior, & immunity – health. 34 [DOI] 10.1016/j.bbih.2023.100707. [PMID] 38020479.
Epigenetic age acceleration mediates the relationship between neighborhood deprivation and pain severity in adults with or at risk for knee osteoarthritis pain
Social Science & Medicine. 331 [DOI] 10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.116088. [PMID] 37473540.
Vitamin D Metabolism Genes Are Differentially Methylated in Individuals with Chronic Knee Pain.
Lifestyle genomics. 16(1):98-105 [DOI] 10.1159/000529823. [PMID] 36854277.
Accelerated Epigenetic Aging Mediates the Association between Vitamin D Levels and Knee Pain in Community-Dwelling Individuals.
The journal of nutrition, health & aging. 26(4):318-323 [DOI] 10.1007/s12603-022-1758-z. [PMID] 35450986.
Clinical vitamin D levels are associated with insular volume and inferior temporal gyrus white matter surface area in community-dwelling individuals with knee pain.
Frontiers in neuroscience. 16 [DOI] 10.3389/fnins.2022.882322. [PMID] 36117614.
Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) is Associated with Movement-Evoked Pain Severity in Adults with Chronic Low Back Pain: Sociodemographic Differences.
The journal of pain. 23(8):1437-1447 [DOI] 10.1016/j.jpain.2022.03.237. [PMID] 35417792.
Epigenetic Aging Mediates the Association between Pain Impact and Brain Aging in Middle to Older Age Individuals with Knee Pain.
Epigenetics. 17(13):2178-2187 [DOI] 10.1080/15592294.2022.2111752. [PMID] 35950599.
Racial Differences in 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D and Self-Reported Pain Severity in a Sample of Individuals Living with Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain.
Journal of pain research. 15:3859-3867 [DOI] 10.2147/JPR.S386565. [PMID] 36514480.
Racial Differences in Pain, Nutrition, and Oxidative Stress.
Pain and therapy. 11(1):37-56 [DOI] 10.1007/s40122-022-00359-z. [PMID] 35106711.
Relationship between diet and relative risk of pain in a cross-sectional analysis of the REGARDS longitudinal study.
Pain management. 12(2):168-179 [DOI] 10.2217/pmt-2021-0048. [PMID] 34431328.
<p>Sex and Gender are Not the Same: Why Identity Is Important for People Living with HIV and Chronic Pain</p>
Journal of Pain Research. Volume 13:829-835 [DOI] 10.2147/jpr.s248424.
Dietary Interventions for Treatment of Chronic Pain: Oxidative Stress and Inflammation.
Pain and therapy. 9(2):487-498 [DOI] 10.1007/s40122-020-00200-5. [PMID] 33085012.
The Effect of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets on Pain in Individuals with Knee Osteoarthritis.
Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 21(1):150-160 [DOI] 10.1093/pm/pnz022. [PMID] 30865775.
Intersectional health-related stigma in persons living with HIV and chronic pain: implications for depressive symptoms.
AIDS care. 30(sup2):66-73 [DOI] 10.1080/09540121.2018.1468012. [PMID] 29848042.
The impact of the Standard American Diet in rats: Effects on behavior, physiology and recovery from inflammatory injury.
Scandinavian journal of pain. 17:316-324 [DOI] 10.1016/j.sjpain.2017.08.009. [PMID] 28927908.


Jun 2023 ACTIVE
UFR CTSI Instituitonal Support
Role: Project Manager
May 2023 ACTIVE
Pain and Nutrition in Dementia and Alzheimers PANDA
Role: Principal Investigator
Jul 2019 ACTIVE
OoR Matching Support for CTSI
Role: Project Manager


Post Doctoral Associate
2021-2023 · University of Florida
Doctor of Philosophy – Behavioral Neuroscience
2016-2021 · The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Bachelor of Science – Biology: Pre-Med; Minor: Chemistry
2012-2016 · Faulkner University

Contact Details

(352) 294-5800
Business Mailing:
PO Box 100147
Business Street:
1889 Museum Rd, Suite 7000