July 13, 2012
Catherine Bushnell, an internationally recognized researcher in neuroscience, will lead a new research program at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the role of the brain in perceiving and managing pain.
Bushnell began her scientific career at NIH, but has spent most of the last 20 years at the University of Montreal and McGill University in Canada.
“Dr. Bushnell’s work has profoundly changed the ways in which we understand and study” chronic pain problems, said Dr. Josephine Briggs of NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Bushnell is recognized for her work in analyzing the brain mechanisms underlying pain. Recently, she has used brain imaging and psychophysical testing to study how nerves behave during pain processing.
“It is an exciting and promising time in the field of pain research and I look forward to strengthening our understanding of the mechanisms and modulation of pain,” Bushnell said in an NIH press release.
Bushnell’s work has received great international acclaim. Both the American Pain Society and the Canadian Pain Society have given her lifetime achievement awards.
In the United States alone, more than 100 million people suffer from chronic pain conditions. Research by the new NIH program will also explore how emotion, environment and genetics affect pain.