• Denise Wilkes, M.D., Ph.D.

    Clinical Professor

    T32 Participating Faculty Member
    Department: Anesthesiology

    Email: dwilkes@utmb.edu
    Phone: 409.772.1221

    Bio & Research

Dr. Denise Wilkes, a Clinical Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology is dedicated to managing pain and improving the safety of opioid analgesics for pain patients. As an anesthesiologist and neuroscientist at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), my goals are to provide high quality care for chronic pain, optimize training of the next generation of pain management clinicians, and develop novel methods to treat pain by conducting translational clinical research. In the clinic, I prescribe opioids when medically indicated with careful and complete evaluation of risk factors for harm while maximizing therapeutic benefit. This is typically a challenging task, and I am constantly faced with difficult decisions regarding who needs opioids and how much. Therefore, I focus my research to develop innovative means to improve the safety of opioid prescribing. For example, my work has involved clinical trials of extremely low-dose opioids for managing pain as well as testing the effectiveness of electronic “smart bottles” for detecting prescription opioid misuse in opioid-managed patients. I have also published research on key policy changes, such as the recent rescheduling of hydrocodone, and new laws regulating pain clinics which have affected opioid prescribing practices.


  • B.S., 1991, The University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  • Ph.D., 2002, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas
  • M.D., 2002, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas
  • Fellowship, 2006-2007, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas