Lab Director

Todd B. Monroe pic

Todd Monroe


Under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Carter, Dr. Monroe earned his Ph.D. in Nursing in 2010 from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). While at UTHSC, Dr. Monroe received the prestigious Alma and Hal Regan Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for his dissertation work examining cancer pain in people with dementia at the end-of-life. After graduation, Dr. Monroe was chosen as a Claire M. Fagin & Atlantic Philanthropies Post-Doctoral Fellow in 2011. He was mentored by Dr. John Gore at the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science and Dr. Lorraine Mion at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Upon completion of the fellowship, Dr. Monroe was asked to join the faculty as Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

Dr. Monroe’s program of research is focused on the neurobiology of pain and the impact of sex differences on pain perception in older adults with and without dementia. Using a combination of observational, experimental pain, and functional neuroimaging studies.  Dr. Monroe’s work has thus far demonstrated that people residing in long-term-care facilities with dementia who died with terminal cancer were at great risk of receiving no pain medications at the end-of-life; that people with AD have intact central pain pathways yet they may have a delayed response in feeling pain which may help explain altered pain reports and clinical treatment of pain; through examining self-report of pain intensity and pain unpleasantness in response to experimental pain, females may be more sensitive to pain and find pain more intense while males report pain as more unpleasant. Importantly, this phenomenon remains present across the cognitive spectrum from cognitively intact to moderate AD. Dr. Monroe recommends that clinicians use multidimensional pain assessment in all patients because current practice is to only assess the sensory/intensity component of pain. His work has the potential to impact both pain assessment and management practices in adults across the lifespan.

Dr. Monroe is the recipient of an NIH/NIA K23 career development award, two NIH/NIA R21 awards, and two NIH/NIA R01 awards examining sex-differences in pain reports and brain activation in people with AD and pain sensitivity and unpleasantness in people with AD and cancer. He holds Fellowships in the National Academies of Practice, the Gerontological Society of America, and the American Academy of Nursing. Dr. Monroe joined The Ohio State University in 2018 where he is currently a tenured Associate Professor of Nursing.

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Lab Members

Kathy Wright


Kathy D. Wright joins the college as assistant professor and chief diversity officer. She also holds a faculty position in The Ohio State University Discovery Themes-Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Brain Injury Institute.

Wright comes to us from Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). She completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing with a major in psychology from Youngstown State University, Master’s in geriatric health and minority mental health from Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, CWRU, and PhD from The University of Utah. Wright’s research centers on improving mental health and blood pressure self-management in African American older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, cognitive impairment and hypertension. Her work has been disseminated through scholarly journals and media outlets including National Public Radio. Wright’s goal is to mentor others and inspire solutions to address health disparities and inequities across the lifespan.

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Karen Moss


Dr. Karen Moss’ program of research focuses on the neuroscience of pain, advance care planning, healthcare decision-making, and quality-of-life outcomes for patients living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and other serious chronic illness and their families. She examines factors that influence pain and end-of-life decision-making processes for African American older adults living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their family caregivers. Dr. Moss also seeks to better understand family caregiver stress.

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Michelle Failla


Dr. Michelle Failla’s research focuses on understanding the role of social communication in pain experiences. Her work aims to understand how altered neural processing of pain may contribute to differences in expression or experience of pain. She is particularly interested in studying pain in populations with differences in social communication, across the lifespan, including autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s Disease, and dementia. She uses a variety of techniques such as psychophysics, neuroimaging, behavioral testing, and big-data approaches to investigate responses to physical pain. Unique or unexpected pain expressions and experiences may influence how pain is managed in a clinical setting. Dr. Failla’s work aims to improve pain management for populations where pain communication could potentially impact care.

Dr. Failla earned a B.S. in Biology from Truman State University. She earned her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Neuroscience with Dr. Amy Wagner and completed her postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center with Dr. Carissa Cascio in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science.

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Karen Rose


Karen M. Rose PhD, MS, RN, FGSA, FAAN, is a veteran gerontology nursing research expert. She brings her fourteen plus years’ experience as the leader of the research Center for Healthy Aging, Self-Management, and Complex Care at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. Her extramural funding totals over $2 million through the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and the John A. Hartford Foundation for her work targeting technology use for persons with dementia and their family caregivers. For these patients and families, Dr. Rose’s expertise demonstrates a special focus on the unique needs of underserved and vulnerable (ethnic and gender minority groups of older adults and family caregivers) and her work includes a record of successful collaborations with multidisciplinary healthcare teams.

Dr. Rose earned her baccalaureate degree in nursing from Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. She earned her master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and her PhD in nursing from the University of Virginia. She was a pre-doctoral scholar with funding through the National Institutes of Health and the John A. Hartford Foundation’s Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity program. She was a Claire M. Fagin post-doctoral fellow with a focus on sleep disturbances in dementia with funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation. She is currently a 2020-2021 Health and Aging Policy Fellow, a program that is jointly funded through the John A. Hartford Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, and West Health.

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Michelle Crum

Research Recruitment Specialist, BA

Michelle is a Certified Dementia Care Practitioner that joined the Monroe Lab as Research Recruitment Specialist after 27 years in senior services focused on dementia care and support. Personal and professional experience has given Michelle a strong foundation and an interest in understanding dementia related behaviors. Michelle is originally from Western New York but proud to be a Buckeye since 2002. She lives in Westerville with her husband, Chris and Golden Retriever, Sunny. She’s extremely proud of sons Matthew and Aaron.

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Asvena Siva

Clinical Research Assistant, BS

Asvena Siva graduated from The Ohio State University in 2023 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in French. She is from Columbus, Ohio and hopes to pursue medical school after graduation. She is interested in research that works to better understand pain perceptions in older adults with dementia. During her time in undergrad, Asvena was involved with OSU Inaayat Dance Team, Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity, and was a Peer Mentor for the Honors College of Arts of Sciences. Outside of school, Asvena enjoys dance, playing piano, and biking.


Ashleigh Fletcher

Research Coordinator, BS

Ashleigh Fletcher graduated from Cleveland State University and received a BS in Health Sciences (nutrition and health promotion). She is currently applying to graduate school to become a Physician Assistant. She is also a certified yoga and barre instructor. Ashleigh loves to travel, try new things, and is excited to be a part of this team.