Leena Kader

Leena Kader

Leena Kader

Campus: KU Medical Center Campus
Program Mentor: Erin Young, Ph.D.
Mentor's Academic Department: Anesthesiology (KUMC)
Joined NS Program in 2020

Research Overview

Leena’s current scientific project looks at understanding visceral pain development experienced by patients who suffer from disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBIs) (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome). This project explores the interplay of two key players: the microbiome (a diverse community of microorganisms in our gut) and host-gene expression (how our own genes contribute). By unraveling the complexities of this synergistic interaction, we aim to understand and potentially alleviate visceral hypersensitivity, a condition where the gut becomes overly sensitive, providing valuable insights that could lead to improved treatments and pharmacological interventions.


French EL, Kader L, Young EE, Fontes JD.  (2023).  Physician Perception of the Importance of Medical Genetics and Genomics in Medical Education and Clinical Practice. Med Educ Online, 28(1):2143920. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2022.2143920. PMID: 36345884; PMCID: PMC9648379.

Kader L, Willits A, Young EE. (2022).  Editorial: The impact of Micro RNA-320a serum level on severity of symptoms and cerebral processing of pain in patients with fibromyalgia. Pain Med, 23(12), 1925-1927. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnac109. PMID: 35861419.

Beierle J, Yao E, Goldstein S, Scotellaro J, Sena K, Linnertz C, Willits AB, Kader L, Young EE, Peltz G., Emili A, Ferris M, Bryant C.  (2022).  Genetic basis of thermal nociceptive sensitivity and brain weight in a BALB/c reduced complexity cross. Molecular Pain 18. doi:10.1177/17448069221079540

Dourson A*, Willits AB*, Raut N, Kader L, Young EE, Jankowski M, Chibambaran V.  (2022). Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms influencing acute to chronic postsurgical pain transitions in pediatrics: Preclinical to clinical evidence. Canadian Journal of Pain 6(2): 85-107.

*Both authors contributed equally to this work


  • US Association for the Study of Pain (USASP). Duke University, Durham, NC, 2023.
  • Kansas Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Symposium. Overland Park, KS, 2023.
  • BioKansas Innovation Festival, Kansas City, KS, 2022.
  • Kansas Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Symposium. University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2022.
  • US Association for the Study of Pain (USASP). University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 2022.

Awards and Honors

Biomedical Research Training Program (BRTP) Fellowship, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, 2023 $13,000 fellowship for research funding. As a BRTP scholar, expectations are to maintain a high level of research activity, apply for an external fellowship, and attend and present your research at the 2023 Symposium for the KUMC Biomedical Research Training Program.

Idea Grant Recipient, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, May 2017- May 2018
Granted $4000.00 to run a 6-week clinical study on the feasibility and development of acute low back pain of 20 patients. Evaluated a self-management (SM) intervention called Sensitivity to Pain IN mE (SPINE) for adults created by Dr. Angela Starkweather to LBP patients, and the preliminary effects of the SPINE intervention on pain self-efficacy, self-regulation, and activation.

Paul Lt. Drotch Scholarship, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, May 2016
$4000.00 academic achievement scholarship and presented at Drotch Scholarship Foundation.

Positions, Scientific Appointments and Honors

  • (2018 – 2020) - Research Technician, NYU Langone Medical Center
  • (2015 – 2018) - Undergraduate Research Assistant, Center for Advancements in Managing Pain, UConn
  • (2015 – 2017) - Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Microbiology, UConn


  • 2022 - KUMC Student Government Travel Award
  • 2022 - Data Blitz Presenter, US Association for the Study of Pain, University of Cincinnati
  • 2021 - Poster Competition Overall Second Place Winner, Student Research Forum, KUMC
  • 2018 - Paul L. Drotch Scholarship, UConn
  • 2017 - IDEA Grant Award, Scientific Grant, UConn

Memberships in Professional Societies

  • 2022 - The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Member
  • 2022 - US Association for the Study of Pain Member
  • 2021 - Student Research Forum Career Development Leader