Gabriella Muwanga is a Neurosciences graduate student in the Tawfik and Airan labs at Stanford. She is interested in understanding acute and chronic pain mechanisms and developing therapies for acute and chronic pain through basic and translational research. Gabriella holds a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. She is passionate about teaching, mentorship, science communication, and fostering diversity in science. Outside the lab, she enjoys writing, singing, drawing, Bible Study, and fellowship.

Education & Certifications

  • BSc, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, Biomedical and Biological Sciences (2018)

All Publications

  • Mechanical Conflict-Avoidance Assay to Measure Pain Behavior in Mice. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE Gaffney, C. M., Muwanga, G., Shen, H., Tawfik, V. L., Shepherd, A. J. 2022


    Pain comprises of both sensory (nociceptive) and affective (unpleasant) dimensions. In preclinical models, pain has traditionally been assessed using reflexive tests that allow inferences regarding pain's nociceptive component but provide little information about the affective or motivational component of pain. Developing tests that capture these components of pain are therefore translationally important. Hence, researchers need to use non-reflexive behavioral assays to study pain perception at that level. Mechanical conflict-avoidance (MCA) is an established voluntary non-reflexive behavior assay, for studying motivational responses to a noxious mechanical stimulus in a 3 chamber paradigm. A change in a mouse's location preference, when faced with competing noxious stimuli, is used to infer the perceived unpleasantness of bright light versus tactile stimulation of the paws. This protocol outlines a modified version of the MCA assay which pain researchers can use to understand affective-motivational responses in a variety of mouse pain models. Though not specifically described here, our example MCA data use the intraplantar complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA), spared nerve injury (SNI), and a fracture/casting model as pain models to illustrate the MCA procedure.

    View details for DOI 10.3791/63454

    View details for PubMedID 35253785

  • Combined single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry analysis in intact murine dorsal root ganglia and sciatic nerve. STAR protocols Li, X., Eadara, S., Jeon, S., Liu, Y., Muwanga, G., Qu, L., Caterina, M. J., Meffert, M. K. 2021; 2 (2): 100555


    Single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization (smFISH) allows spatial mapping of gene expression. This protocol presents advances in smFISH fidelity and flexibility in intact murine sensory nervous system tissue. An approach using RNAscope probes allows multiplexing, enhanced target specificity, and immunohistochemistry compatibility. Computational strategies increase quantification accuracy of mRNA puncta with a point spread function for clustered transcripts in the dorsal root ganglion and 3D masking for intermingled sciatic nerve cell types. Approaches are validated for mRNAs of modest (Lin28a) and medium (Ppib) steady-state abundance in neurons.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.xpro.2021.100555

    View details for PubMedID 34142098

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8185307