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Petra Schweinhardt

schweinhardt Assistant 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)

Research Interests

My 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. I am 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.

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. The importance of emotional memory processes for the generation and maintenance of chronic pain


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, in press.

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 doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2012.00281.x. [Epub ahead of print].

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.

Becker S, Gandhi W, Schweinhardt P. Cerebral interactions of pain and reward and their relevance for chronic pain. Neuroscience Letters 2012;520(2):182-7.

Low L, Schweinhardt P. Early life adversity as a risk factor for fibromyalgia in later life. Pain Res Treat. 2012;2012:140832.

Becker S, Schweinhardt P. Dysfunctional neurotransmitter systems implicated in fibromyalgia, their role in central stress circuitry and pharmacological actions on these neurotransmitters systems. Pain Res Treat. 2012;2012:741746.

Lewis JS, Schweinhardt P. Perceptions of the painful body: The relationship between body perception disturbance, pain and tactile discrimination in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. European Journal of Pain 2012; 16(9):1320-30.

Schweinhardt P, Seminowicz DA, Jaeger E, Duncan GH, Bushnell MC. The anatomy of the mesolimbic reward system: a link between personality and the placebo analgesic response. J Neurosci. 2009 29 (15): 4882-7.

Schweinhardt P, Kuchinad A, Pukall CF, Bushnell MC. Increased gray matter density in young women with chronic vulvar pain. Pain 2008 140(3):411-419.

Bushnell MC and Schweinhardt P. The Neurobiology of Fibromyalgia. Invited article for Continued Education. Perspectives in Psychiatry: A Clinical Update. CME LLC/Psychiatric Times. In press.

Loggia ML, Schweinhardt P, Villemure C, Bushnell MC (2008). Effects of psychological state on pain perception in the dental environment. J Can Dent Assoc.; 74(7):651-6. Review article.

Schweinhardt P, Kalk N, Wartolowska K, Chessel I, Wordsworth P, Tracey I. Investigation into the neural correlates of emotional augmentation of clinical pain. Neuroimage 2008; 40 (2): 759-766.

Schweinhardt P, Sauro K, Bushnell MC (2008). Fibromyalgia – a disorder of the brain? Neuroscientist. [Epub ahead of print].

Schweinhardt P , Loggia ML, Villemure C, Bushnell MC. Psychological State and Pain Perception (2008). In: Orofacial Pain: From basic science to clinical management, 2nd edition (Quintessence Publishing Co Inc, eds: Sessle BJ, Lund JP, Lavigne GJ, Dubner R).

Wood PB, Schweinhardt P, Bushnell MC, Jaeger E, Dagher A, Hakyemez H, Rabiner EA, Chizh B. Fibromyalgia patients show an abnormal response to pain. Eur J Neurosci. 2007; 25(12):3576-82.

Wise RG, Lujan BJ, Schweinhardt P, Peskett GD, Rogers R, Tracey I. The anxiolytic effects of midazolam during anticipation to pain revealed using fMRI. Magn Reson Imaging 2007; 25(6):801-10.

Kuchinad A, Schweinhardt P, Wood PB, Chizh B, Bushnell C. Accelerated grey-matter loss in fibromyalgia patients: premature aging of the brain? J Neurosci. 2007; 27(15):4004-7.

Schweinhardt P, Tracey I, Bountra C. Pharmacological FMRI in the development of new analgesic compounds. NMR Biomed. 2006; 19(6):702-11.

Schweinhardt P , Lee M, Tracey I (2006). Imaging pain in patients: is it meaningful? Curr Opin Neurol.; 19(4):392-400.

Schweinhardt P, Glynn C, Brooks J, McQuay H, Jack T, Chessell I, Bountra C, Tracey I. An fMRI study of cerebral processing of brush-evoked allodynia in neuropathic pain patients, Neuroimage 2006; 32(1):256-65.

Tracey I, Schweinhardt P, Bountra C (2006). Brain FMRI in Clinical Pharmacological Studies. In: In Vivo MR Techniques in Drug Discovery and Development, 221-236 (CRC Press Inc., U.S., ed: Beckmann N).

Hofstetter CP, Holmstrom NA, Lilja JA, Schweinhardt P, Hao J, Spenger C, Wiesenfeld-Hallin Z, Kurpad SN, Frisen J, Olson L (2005). Allodynia limits the usefulness of intraspinal neural stem cell grafts; directed differentiation improves outcome. Nat Neurosci.; 8(3):346-53.

Lundkvist J, Zhu S, Hansson EM, Schweinhardt P, Miao Q, Beatus P, Dannaeus K, Karlstrom H, Johansson CB, Viitanen M, Rozell B, Spenger C, Mohammed A, Kalimo H, Lendahl U (2005). Mice carrying a R142C Notch 3 knock-in mutation do not develop a CADASIL-like phenotype. Genesis.; 41(1):13-22.

Lee I, Bulte JWM , Schweinhardt P, Douglas T, Trifunovski A, Hofstetter C, Olson L , Spenger C (2004). In vivo magnetic resonance tracking of olfactory ensheathing glia grafted into the rat spinal cord. Exp Neurol.; 187(2):509-16.

Diez M, Schweinhardt P, Peterson S, Wang FH, Lavebratt C, Schalling M, Hökfelt T, Spenger C (2003). MRI and In Situ Hybridization Reveal Early Disturbances in Brain Size and Gene Expression in the Megencephalic Mouse. Eur J Neurosci.; 18(12):3218-30.

Hofstetter C, Schweinhardt P, Klason T, Olson L, Spenger C (2003). Numb rats walk - a behavioral and fMRI comparison of mild and moderate spinal cord injury. Eur J Neurosci. 2003; 18(11):3061-3068.

Schweinhardt P, Franson P, Olson L, Spenger C, Andersson JL (2003). A template for spatial normalisation of MR images of the rat brain. J Neurosci Meth.; 129(2):105-13.

Lindskog M, Kogner P, Ponthan F, Schweinhardt P, Sandstedt B, Heiden T, Helms G, Spenger C (2003). Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) provides a non-invasive surrogate marker for tumor viability in neuroblastoma xenografts. Br J Cancer.; 88(3):478-85.