Research

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Our Faculty

Lab Members

David Borsook MD PhD

Dr. Borsook is co-director of the Center for Pain and the Brain, which encompasses Boston Children's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and McLean Hospital. He is an Associate Professor in Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School. As a leading researcher in the field of pain, Dr. Borsook has helped improve understanding of healthy and unhealthy neural pain networks in both humans and animal models.

Harvard Catalyst Profile
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Lino Becerra PhD

Dr. Becerra is co-director of the Center for Pain and the Brain, which spans Boston Children's Hospital, McLean Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. He is an Associate Professor in Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School. He trained in biophysics at the University of Illinois. Dr. Becerra heads the animal imaging program. These projects complement the human imaging research. 

Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging Profile
Harvard Catalyst Profile
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Eric Moulton PhD

Dr. Moulton is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School, and  is a research associate at Boston Children's Hospital.  He earned his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.  His scientific interests are in brain-level sensory processing and its translation into perception/behavior. He has been awarded a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to assess the relationship between pain and the cerebellum in healthy volunteers. 

Harvard Catalyst Profile
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Clas Linnman PhD 

Dr. Linnman's area of expertise is in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of anxiety and pain. His research has focused on patients with whiplash associated disorder, social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder as well as healthy controls. Dr. Linnman has employed multi-tracer PET protocols, fMRI, and combinations of FDG PET and fMRI to assess brain function in these patient populations. He has an interest in fear learning and extinction, gender related differences in emotional and pain processing, neuroinflammation and glial function, interactions between central and peripheral pain mechanisms, and pain in psychiatric disease. 

Harvard Catalyst Profile
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Laura Simons PhD 

Dr. Simons is an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a staff psychologist in the Pain Treatment Service at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a committed researcher and clinician with a primary focus on assessment and development of treatment interventions to improve the lives of youth with chronic pain. Laura’s program of research encompasses therapeutic program development and evaluation, coping with pain, parent responses to pain, anxiety/fear, psychophysiology, and assessment scale development with pediatric populations. She has received several grants and awards to support her research efforts, with a recently awarded K23 Career Development Award from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development  (NICHD) to examine the neural basis of pain-related fear and treatment response among children and adolescent with chronic pain. 

Boston Children's Hospital Clinical Profile
Harvard Catalyst Profile
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Dusica Bajic MD PhD

Dusica Bajic, MD, PhD joined P.A.I.N. group in 2012 as a proactive clinician scientist . She created a key program using infant animal models to determine how morphine acts in the developing brain that is different from that in adult. Investigation of the supraspinal mechanisms of age-dependent development of negative behavioral effects associated with prolonged opioid administration is crucial to better understand the actions of opioid medications in human infants and children during surgery, critical illness or cancer treatment. This is an important new area of research that may provide novel insights into mechanisms of prolonged opioid effects that will lead to novel clinical therapies that differ with age.

Boston Children's Hospital Research Page
Harvard Catalyst Profile
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Christopher Aasted PhD

Dr. Aasted is an Instructor in Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School and a Staff Scientist in Anesthesiology at Boston Children’s Hospital. He earned his PhD in Engineering from the University of Denver for his work on hybrid sensing and adaptive control for direct brain actuation of artificial limbs. He is currently part of three projects on the application of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) for the purpose of detecting brain activity associated with pain processing.  Dr. Aasted is the principle investigator on one of these projects, in which we are recording fNIRS data pre-, intra-, and post-operatively in order to detect brain activation resulting from procedurally induced pain as well as to investigate changes in resting state networks.  He also collaborates with the New York Institute of Technology on the application of machine learning algorithms for bio-inspired sensing and decision-making in unmanned aerial systems research.

Harvard Catalyst Profile
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Nathalie Erpelding PhD

Dr. Erpelding is a Research Fellow in Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School and a Research Fellow in Anesthesiology at Boston Children's Hospital. She earned her PhD in Psychology from the University of Luxembourg and gained extensive MRI expertise at the Toronto Western Research Institute.  At Children's Hospital, her current research projects focus on complex regional pain syndrome and headaches in children and adolescents.

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Vanda Faria PhD

Sophie Wilcox PhD

Nadia Barakat PhD

Nadia Barakat, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow at Children’s hospital of Boston.  Her professional aspiration is to employ extensive knowledge of engineering principles to improve medical outcomes in the field of pediatric imaging.  Her research efforts focus on establishing advanced MRI techniques as neurodiagnostic tools in examining the pediatric spinal cord and in the characterization of small nerve bundles.  She has contributed to identifying the feasibility and reliability of DTI in the pediatric population and has shown differences in DTI values between children with traumatic spinal cord injuries and controls, and has shown good correlation with standardized clinical endpoints.  Nadia is a recipient of ASNR’s Derek Harwood-Nash Award for best paper in pediatric neuroradiology and a recent recipient of NIH K25 research grant. Nadia’s main focus is to improve the health of patients with neurological disabilities with more efficacious technologies and imaging techniques. 

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Duncan Hodkinson PhD

Catherine Hubbard PhD


Research Assistants

Rosanna Veggeberg BSc

Rosie graduated from Brandeis University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. She is involved in fMRI imaging projects in adults who suffer from migraine.

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Michael Craig MSc

Michael graduated from University College London with a Master's in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2013. He is currently involved in a project studying the effects of chronic morphine treatment on brain development using fMRI and behavioral techniques.


Molly Basch BA

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Allison Ludwick MSc

Allison graduated from University College London in 2014 with a Master's in Clinical Neuroscience.  She is involved in fMRI imaging of children, adolescents and young adults who suffer from migraines, and adolescents with post-concussive headaches.

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Tali Rasooly BA

Tali graduated from University of Maryland in 2011 with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. She is involved in an MRI study looking at adolescents with neuropathic pain and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, as well as children and adolescents who suffer from abdominal pain.

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Sarah Steele BS

Sarah graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She is currently involved in several projects using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) for the purpose of detecting brain activity associated with perioperative pain processing.

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Katie Silva BS

Katie graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. She is currently involved in an MRI project investigating the role of the cerebellum in pain processing in children and young adults.

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Clinical Team

Edward George MD PhD

Harvard Catalyst Profile

Alyssa Lebel MD

Dr. Lebel is the director of the Pediatric Headache Program and Chronic Pain Clinic and an Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on neural pain pathways in chronic pain patients. She is currently overseeing studies involving children and adolescents migraine headaches and complex regional pain syndrome.

Boston Children's Hospital Clinical Profile
Harvard Catalyst Profile

Anna Minster MD

Dr. Minster is an Instructor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School. She is board certified in Neurology and Psychiatry, with special qualification in child neurology. She is a co-director of the headache clinic.

Boston Children's Hospital Clinical Profile
Harvard Catalyst Profile


Steven Scrivani DDS DMSc

Dr. Scrivani is Professor in The Craniofacial Pain and Headache Center at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and in the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, Public Health and Professional Degree Programs, Pain Research, Education and Policy Programs at Tufts University School of Medicine.  He has been involved in functional brain imaging for many years in New York and Boston and is primarily interested in trigeminal system neuroprocessing, trigeminal neuropathic pain and migraine headache.

Tufts University HUB Member Profile


Collaborators

Research Associates

Robert Edwards PhD

Dr. Edwards is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Pain Management Center at Brigham & Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School. He attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham, completing a Ph.D. in Medical Psychology and a Master’s in Public Health. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Pain Psychology at Johns Hopkins, before joining the faculty in Psychiatry there. He moved to Brigham & Women’s Hospital in 2008. Hisresearch focuses on biobehavioral aspects of acute and chronic pain. Specifically, he studies individual differences in pain responses, and the neurobiological mechanisms by which psychosocial processes shape those individual differences. Some of his current NIH-funded work focuses on the impact of pain-related catastrophizing on neuroendocrine and inflammatory responses to pain, as well as individual differences in central nervous system pain processing, and their implications for long-term pain-related outcomes. He is involved in several studies that use functional neuroimaging techniques to assess the neurobiology of pain-related thoughts and emotions. 

Igor Elman MD

Igor Elman, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.  He was trained at the National Institute of Mental Health and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry with a subspecialty certification in Addiction Psychiatry.  Dr. Elman's research is focused on the role of reward and motivational systems in the pathophysiology of severe neuropsychiatric disorders, including addictions, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Christopher Gilligan MD

Dr. Gilligan is a clinician researcher in the Department of Anesthesia at Boston Children’s Hospital, and is the Medical Director for the MGH Center for Pain Medicine.  He obtained his MD from the Yale University School of Medicine, completed his residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and his fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.  His research focuses on clinical trials of new interventions, devices and medications for the treatment of pain.  

Cenk Ayata MD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Charles Berde MD PhD

Boston Children's Hospital
Harvard Medical School

David Boas PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Gary Brenner MD PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Rami Burstein PhD

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital
Harvard Medical School

David Dodick MD

Mayo Clinic

Igor Elman MD

Cambridge Health Alliance
Harvard Medical School

Torsten Gordh MD/PhD

Uppsala Berzelii Technology Centre for Neurodiagnostics
Uppsala University

P. Ellen Grant MD MA

Boston Children's Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Jacob Hooker PhD

Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Harvard Medical School

Rajan Patel PhD

Emory University

Frank Porreca PhD

University of Arizona

Andrew Prescott PhD

University of Utah

Perry Renshaw MD PhD

University of Utah

Jeremy Schmahmann MD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Andrew M. Strassman PhD

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Harvard Medical School

Jaymin Upadhyay PhD

Abbott Laboratories

Roger D. Weiss MD

McLean Hospital
Harvard Medical School


Alumni

Cristina Borras PhD

University of Barcelona

Alexandre F. DaSilva DDS PhD

University of Michigan

Braden Kuo MD

Massachusetts General Hospital

Gautam Pendse MA/MS

Statistical Software Developer at Mathworks

Alexander Ploghaus PhD


Jennifer Potter PhD MPH

University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antoni

Karl Schmidt PhD

inviCRO, LLC

Marnie Shaw PhD

University of Melbourne

Leslie Shelton PhD

Esteban Toledo MD


Irene Tracey DPhil

Director of Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain
Nuffield Professor of Anaesthetic Science

Jaymin Upadhyay PhD

Senior Scientist II at Translational Sciences
Abbott Laboratories


Former RAs

Where did they go?

Lianne Jenkins 

MPH, Brown University

Kim Harter

MD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester

Christina Geatrakas

MD, Syracuse University Medical School

Julie Gostic

MS in Radiological Science and Protection, Universtiy of Massachusetts
PhD in Radiochemistry, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Lito Papanicolas

MBBS, University of Adelaide

Susie Morris

MD, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Matthew Aiello-Lammens

PhD Candidate in Ecology & Evolution, SUNY Stony Brook

Sadie Cole

PhD Candidate in Psychology, Harvard University

Shannon Tully

MPH/MBA, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Diana Wallin

PhD Candidate in Neuroscience, University of Minnesota

Will Harris

MS Candidate in Biostatistics, UCLA

Julie Anderson

MA in Epidemiology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Pei-Ching Chang

PhD Candidate in Physiology, Northwestern University

Jaime Knudsen

PhD Candidate in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Brandeis University

James Bishop

PhD Candidate in Neuroscience, University of Vermont, Burlington

Lauren Nutile

MD Candidate, VCU School of Medicine

Athena Drosos

MS Candidate in Physician Assistant Studies, Albany Medical College

Margaret Grant

PhD Candidate, University of Virginia

Jennifer Brawn

DPhil Candidate in Clinical Neuroscience, University of Oxford, UK

Gabi Barmettler

MD Candidate, Thomas Jefferson University

Melissa Pielech

PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology, University of New Mexico

Adrianna Johnson

MD/PhD Candidate, University of Pittsburgh

Paul Serrano

DMD Candidate, Tufts University


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