Olivia Eller, B.S. Biology from Kansas State University

Mentor: Julie Christianson, Ph.D. - Mentor’s Academic Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology, KUMC
Primary office:

Although migraine headache is one of the most common neurological disorders, the underlying mechanism triggering migraine is still poorly understood. Migraine sufferers often display comorbid pain disorders including interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia or chronic prostatitis, and fibromyalgia. Increased urogenital sensitivity and dysfunction is seen in mice subject to early life stress and it is hypothesized that this is due to dysfunction within the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. My research will focus on investigating if mice displaying urogenital sensitivity also exhibit behavioral or molecular evidence indicative of fibromyalgia and migraine.  Additionally, I will be examining the effects of exercise on chronic pain sensitivity. Exercise appears to have a positive impact on neurodevelopment and therefore could serve as a potential therapeutic for treatment of these pain disorders.


Joined the Neuroscience program academic year 2014.

Mentor: Julie Christianson, Ph.D.

Mentor’s Academic Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology, KUMC

Selected Publications


Pierce, AN., Di Silvestro, ER., Eller, OC., Wang, R., Ryals, JM., Christianson, JA. (2016) Urinary bladder hypersensitivity and dysfunction in female mice following early life and adult stress. Brain research; 39 58-73.


Published abstracts:

Fuentes, I., Eller, O., Pierce, A., Christianson, J. Sex differences in an early life stress mouse model of co-morbid mood disorders and urogenital pain. Supplement to the Journal of Pain. 17, S69. American Pain Society annual meeting, 2016. 

Selected Presentations

Eller, OC., Pierce, AN., Fuentes, IM., O’Neil, PT., Wang, R., Dussor, GO., Christianson, JA. Investigating comorbidities in an early life stress model of chronic urogenital pain in mice. Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, 2015.

Selected Awards & Honors

University of Kansas Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellowship

Contact Information

The University of Kansas
Neuroscience Graduate Program
c/o Dr. Rick Dobrowsky
School of Pharmacy, Ste 2001-D
2010 Becker Drive
Lawrence, KS 66047
Telephone: (785) 864-3531 or (785) 864-3893
E-mail: dobrowsky@ku.edu or psteffan@ku.edu

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