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Petra Schweinhardt

Associate  Professor

Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain
McGill University, Canada

Phone:(514) 398-7203 ext. 0420

Faculty of Dentistry
McGill University
Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry Bldg. Room 2/38F
3640 University Street
Montreal, QC H3A 2B2

Tel. 1-514-398 7203 ext. 01630 (office)
Fax. 1-514-398 8900

petra [dot] schweinhardt [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)

Click here to watch on YouTube.


Research Interests

Dr. Petra Schweinhardt holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in the Neurobiology of Chronic Pain and is an Associate Professor at the Faculties of Dentistry and Medicine at McGill. Her research is aimed at gaining a better understanding of the cerebral mechanisms of pain and pain modulation in health and disease, using neuropsychopharmacological and brain imaging techniques. She is particularly interested in the alterations that occur in the central nervous system of chronic pain patients; how these alterations interact with endogenous pain facilitatory or inhibitory circuitry and consequently contribute to the generation and maintenance of chronic pain. Dr. Schweinhardt’s research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), the Louise and Alan Edwards Foundation, and two Pfizer Neuropathic Pain Awards.

Ongoing Projects

  1. The role of dopamine for pain processing in health and disease
  2. The impact of brain alterations on pain inhibitory capacity and cognitive function in fibromyalgia
  3. Cerebral mechanisms of pain avoidance and their importance for chronic pain 


Recent Original Articles

Becker S, Gandhi W, nee Tiede, Kwan S, Ahmed AK, Schweinhardt P. Doubling your pay-off: Winning pain relief engages endogenous pain inhibition. eNeuro 2015; 17;2(4).

Tuttle AH, Tohyama S, Ramsay T, Kimmelman J, Schweinhardt P, Bennett GJ, Mogil JS. Increasing placebo responses over time in U.S. clinical trials of neuropathic pain. Pain 2015 Pain. 2015;156(12):2616-26.

Ceko M, Gracely J, Fitzcharles MA, Seminowicz D, Schweinhardt P, Bushnell MC. Is a responsive default mode network required for successful working memory task performance? J Neurosci 2015;19;35(33):11595-605.

Thompson S, Millecamps M, Aliaga A, Seminowicz DA, Low LA, Bedell BJ, Stone LS, Schweinhardt P, Bushnell MC. Metabolic brain activity suggestive of ongoing pain in a rat model of neuropathic pain. Neuroimage 2014;91C:344-352.

Pollak KA, Swenson JD, Vanhaitsma TA, Hughen RW, Jo D, Light KC, Schweinhardt P, Amann M, Light AR. Exogenously Applied Muscle Metabolites Synergistically Evoke Sensations of Muscle Fatigue and Pain in Human Subjects. Experimental Physiology 2014; Exp Physiol.;99(2):368-80

Becker S, Ceko M, Foster M, Elfassy N, Shir Y, Leyton M, Schweinhardt P. Dopamine and pain sensitivity: neither sulpiride nor acute phenylalanine and tyrosine depletion have effects on thermal pain sensations in healthy volunteers. PLoS ONE 2013; 8(11):e80766e80766

Bayet S, Bushnell MC, Schweinhardt P. Emotional faces alter pain perception. E J Pain, doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2013.00408.x.

Ceko M, Bushnell MC, Fitzcharles MA, Schweinhardt P. Fibromyalgia interacts with age to change the brain. Neuroimage: Clinical 2013; 6 (3):249-260.

Becker S, Gandhi W, Elfassy N, Schweinhardt P. The role of dopamine in the perceptual  modulation of nociceptive stimuli by monetary wins or losses. Eur J Neurosci. 2013;38(7):3080-8.

Farmer MA, Maykut CA, Huberman JS, Huang J, Khalife S; Binik YM, Apkarian AV,  Schweinhardt P. Psychophysical Properties of Female Genital Sensation. Pain 2013;154(11):2277-86.

Price R, Asenjo JF, Christou NV, Backman SB, Schweinhardt P. The role of excess subcutaneous fat in pain and sensory sensitivity in obesity. European Journal of Pain 2013;17(9):1316-26. 

Gandhi W, Becker S, Schweinhardt P. Pain increases motivational drive to obtain reward, but does not affect associated hedonic responses to reward: A behavioral study in healthy volunteers. European Journal of Pain 2013;17(7):1093-103. 

Schweinhardt P, Abulhasan YB, Koeva, V, Kim DJ, Alhujairi, M, Carli F. Blood pressure decreases counteract analgesic effects of propranolol in healthy men. European Journal of Pain 2013;17(5):704-13. 


Recent Review Articles or Book Chapters

Taylor AMW, Becker S, Schweinhardt P, Cahill C. Mesolimbic dopamine signaling in acute and chronic pain: implications for motivation, analgesia, and addiction. Pain, Pain. 2016 Jan 19. [Epub ahead of print] 

Schweinhardt P, Gracely R. Programmed Symptoms: Disparate Effects United by Purpose. Curr Rheumatol Rev. 2015;11(2):116-30.

Gandhi W, Becker S, Schweinhardt P. The influence of pain on reward processing: current literature and prospects. Neurobiological Studies of Addiction in Chronic Pain States. Contempory Clinical Neuroscience 17: 31-48.

Gracely R, Schweinhardt P. Key mechanisms mediating fibromyalgia. Editorial, Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2015; 33(1 Suppl 88):S3-6.

Velly A, Schweinhardt P, Fricton J. Co-morbid Pain Conditions Affecting Patients with Temporomandibular Disorders: Implications for Management. In: Treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders: Bridging the Gap Between Advances in Basic Research and Clinical Patient Management, 47-57 (Quintessence Publishing Co Inc, 2013, eds: Greene CS, Laskin DM).