PhD in Nursing Science Program

2016 - 2017 Cohort

Alison Anderson

Research Interests: Alzheimer’s disease; pain neurobiology; sex-differences in pain; neuroimaging

Alison Anderson

Alison Anderson graduated with an MSN from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in 2005 and is a certified Adult Nurse Practitioner. The majority of her previous experience involved treating patients and performing procedures for individuals with painful conditions, including specialty areas such as intrathecal pain pump and spinal cord stimulation management, and complicated rheumatological conditions. Additionally, she serves as an expert witness/consultant on opioid over-prescribing cases for the State of Tennessee Board of Nursing. Alison was awarded the Jonas Foundation Nurse Leader Scholarship, Centennial Fellowship, and University Graduate Fellowship. Alison is studying fMRI analysis and psychophysics of pain during Alzheimer’s disease. Her focus is on the pain responses in the periaqueductal gray during a painful stimulus in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease compared to healthy older adult controls. Alison has been a first author or co-author on several publications that focus on pain in Alzheimer’s disease and neuroimaging research. 

Faculty Advisors: Drs. Mariann Piano and Cathy Maxwell 


Christina Vera

Research Interests: Nursing workforce; nurse anesthesia; patient safety and health policy

Christina Vera

Christina Vera is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and graduate of the University of Miami where she completed her BSN and MSN. She graduated in 2015 with a DNP degree from Barry University. Christina is a member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Sigma Theta Tau International, and Academy Health. She has published on both clinical issues and the utility of high-fidelity simulation in the area of nurse anesthesia training, and has presented topics such as the delivery of anesthesia, novel anesthesia technology, and office-based anesthesia considerations. Christina’s research interest is in patient safety and the delivery of nursing and anesthesia care in non-hospital settings. She hopes to describe nursing workforce conditions and functions in these settings, as well as determine relationships of state regulations and ambulatory surgery center institutional policy and the potential role these play on patient outcomes. 

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ann F. Minnick