External Collaborators

Ronald Cowan


Dr. Ronald Cowan earned a PhD in neuroscience in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at UTHSC in 1990. He then continued to complete his medical degree from Weil Cornell University Medical College in New York City in 1994. He completed his internship in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston and his residency in general adult psychiatry at the McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Belmont and Boston. Dr. Cowan spent nearly 18 years as an attending psychiatrist for the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital. Throughout his time at Vanderbilt, he served as the director of the Residency Training Program, co-director for the first year medical school’s neuroscience course (Brain and Behavior), as the third year psychiatry clerkship director and as Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He was also a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Cowan was recently named the Harrison Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. 

Dr. Cowan has been conducting research for almost 20 years. He has authored or co-authored over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Synapse, the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, and the Journal of Neuroscience. Dr. Cowan currently serves on the editorial board of Synapse, and formerly served on the editorial board of the Journal of Addiction. His past research has focused on neuroimaging, depression, drug abuse, obesity, and pain processing in aging and dementia. He is currently an investigator on two National Institute on Aging (NIA) grants.

 Dr. Cowan is currently collaborating with Todd Monroe PhD at the Ohio State University examining the impact of aging, dementia, and cancer on individual sensitivity to and response to pain. They are also investigating the neural correlates of altered pain processing in these conditions using structural and functional MRI.

Alison R. Anderson


Alison R. Anderson, PhD, MSN, ANP-BC, NP-C Dr. Alison Anderson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing. She is investigating mechanisms and relationships of sleep, dysglycemia, and pain in people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. She is also involved in projects developing clinical tools related to pain risk with the Monroe lab and opioid use risk with the Punches lab. Dr. Anderson received her MSN from Vanderbilt University and practiced for years as a dual-board certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and as an expert witness and consultant for the State of Tennessee Board of Nursing. Dr. Anderson returned to Vanderbilt for her PhD, and focused on neuroimaging of pain in the labs of Drs. Todd Monroe and Ron Cowan. She then expanded her research to include biomarkers and caregiving during an NIH T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Ohio State University (OSU). At OSU, Dr. Anderson was advised by Dean Karen Rose and worked with the Pain and Aging Lab, particularly Dr. Karen Moss.

Emmy Schoepke

Research Assistant, BS

Research Assistant Emmy Schoepke is from Stowe, Vermont. She works at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in a Pain Research Group on a mult-isite study assessing how the body’s response to pain is different in people with Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer. Prior to working for VUMC, Emmy earned a B.S. in Biology from Connecticut College and hopes to pursue a career in the medical field.


Lauren Beliveau

Research Coordinator, BA

Lauren began collaborating with the Pain and Aging Lab as a Research Coordinator for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Psychiatry. In partnership with the Pain and Aging Lab, she is working on the Pain Sensitivity and Unpleasantness in People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer study. Prior to joining the Pain and Aging Lab, Lauren studied Psychology and Neuroscience at Elon University. She hopes to continue her education in the future studying self-regulation.