Jennifer Whistler: On the Search for Safer Opioids

Jennifer Whistler
Whistler tests a mouse's ability to learn new rules. Mice who experience opioid withdrawal are less able to learn new rules. In this experiment, the red light mimics darkness, allowing Whistler to study the mice's behavior at night. David Slipher/UC Davis

The opioid epidemic has been called the “deadliest drug crisis in American history” by the New York TimesOverdoses claim the lives of more than 90 Americans each day, and about two million people battle substance abuse disorders stemming from prescription opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

According to BMCDB Graduate Group member Jennifer Whistler, professor of Physiology and Membrane Biology, drug development is headed in the wrong direction. Whistler wants to create a balanced opioid that more closely mimics the way endorphins in the body switch pain relief on and off.  

Read the full story to learn more about Whistler's opioid research