Zoya Bauer

Zoya is a project manager working with the Back Pain Research Patient Advisory Group. She leads the BOLD and LESS projects. Zoya was born and raised in Russia and received her degrees from the St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University. She prefers Seattle’s rainy winters to Russia’s snowy winters! She loves spending time with her husband (Michael) and twin daughters (Alexandra and Sophia). They like to go to the ballet and movies, listen to the symphony, play outside, and travel, especially back to Russia to visit family.


Todd Edwards

Todd is Associate Professor in Health Services at the University of Washington and a co-investigator on the BOLDLESS, and SMARTER projects. His research is focused on designing ways for people to tell researchers how treatments are working from their perspectives. Originally from Wisconsin, Todd has been in Seattle for 20 years and enjoys painting and hiking.


Janna Friedly

Janna is the principal investigator of the LESS study. She is a practicing physician, specializing in treating people with amputations. Janna was born and raised in Rochester, New York, before she escaped to the West Coast for college at Stanford University (to enjoy the sun and get a a degree in Human Biology and Psychology). She went to medical school at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. She lives with her husband (Jim), two sons (Jackson and Shane), two step daughters (Sabrina and Jessica), four dogs, and two guinea pigs. In her spare time, she likes to dream about having spare time. She also enjoys running, traveling and reading. 

Jerry Jarvik

Jerry is the principal investigator of the BOLD and LIRE studies. He is a Professor of Neuroradiology at the University of Washington. Jerry comes from a long line of scientistsmost notably, his father invented the nicotine patch, and his cousin invented the Jarvik Artificial Heart. Jerry loves to go skiing, see plays, read books, travel, and do as much as possible with his wife and three children. "Ultimately, we do what we do to make the lives of patients better," Jerry says. "Partnering with patients helps to guide us at every stage of the research process, from the early stages when we are beginning to figure out the best questions to ask to the final stages when we are trying to implement the results of our research into the daily practice of medicine. Partnering with patients hopefully makes us smarter and more efficient, and it helps to keep us grounded and focused on what's most important." 

Katie James

Katie is a project manager working with the Back Pain Research Patient Advisory Group. She trained as a physician Assistant and currently leads the LIRE project. She completed her education in South Carolina and Georgia before moving to Seattle over 10 years ago. In her personal life, she stays busy with her husband and 2 children.



Sarah Lawrence

Sarah is a senior project manager working with the Back Pain Research Patient Advisory Group. She leads the SMARTER study. Originally from Kentucky, Sarah attended graduate school in Chicago before moving to Seattle in 2007. She lives with her husband, Jeff, and cocker spaniel, Ella. In her spare time, she likes to cook and bake as well as get her hands dirty with home improvement projects.


Danielle Lavallee

Danielle is the principal investigator of the SMARTER study. Her goal in her professional work is to broaden collaborations between researchers and patients to ensure the most important questions are addressed (and solved) to improve health care. Born and raised in Kansas, Danielle left after completing pharmacy school and has now lived on both coasts. She moved to Seattle from Baltimore in 2012 with her husband (Ben) and English Bulldog (Clancey) and has quickly adopted the Pacific Northwest lifestyle of hiking, biking, and spending as much time outdoors as possible, rain or shine. In 2014, Danielle and Ben welcomed their son, Nicholas, into their family. 

Judy Turner

Judy is Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington and a co-investigator on the LESS study. Judy is a clinical psychologist and current practices at the University of Washington Center for Pain Relief. She enjoys her clinical practice in the U.W. Center for Pain Relief and particularly values opportunities to gain patients’ perspectives that inform her research. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, various fitness activities, travel, reading, and taking advantage of Seattle’s rich dining and performing arts offerings.



NOTE: Some Back Pain Research Patient Advisors opted out of being included on our website. 


David volunteered for the Back Pain Research Patient Advisory Group to get to know about research in the treatment and evaluation of lower back pain. He says, "It seems to me that having patients comment on research while it is in progress can provide valuable insight and feedback to the researchers. The discussions have also been extremely valuable to me because they have given me a much better understanding of my disease and how to minimize its effect on my quality of life."


Masu has a long history of volunteering her time for causes she finds interesting or worthy, which led her to become involved in the Back Pain Research Patient Advisory Group. She has volunteered at various not-for-profit organizations since her retirement. She had a varied career, working in research, nonprofits, and risk management. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and visiting art museums. 


Mahshid had a long career working on international nutrition issues with United Nations Agencies and Governments of Canada, U.S. and others. She is now retired and lives in Redmond with her husband. She loves traveling to see the world. She collects famous quotes and sayings and interesting and inspirational true stories. Mahshid joined the Back Pain Research Patient Advisory Group to stay involved in research activities in her retirement, but also over frustrations at her own back pain and her desire to bridge the gaps between patients and doctors in treating back pain. 

Do you have personal experience with back pain or experience caring for someone with back pain? We need your expertise! Contact us to learn how you can get involved.