Dr. Zadina’s laboratory studies opioids and their mechanisms of action in alleviating pain and inducing side effects, particularly drug abuse. His current focus is on development of novel, safer analgesics based on modifications of naturally occurring opioids discovered in his laboratory (endomorphins). A lead compound has been shown in animal models to provide analgesia equal to or greater than morphine with substantial reduction or absence of several major side effects. These include reduced risk of abuse, respiratory depression, tolerance, pro-inflammatory responses, and side effects of particular importance for older adults, including motor and cognitive impairment. Development of the compound for clinical use is underway.