Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain

Pain is one of the largest causes of suffering and disability throughout the world and this centre groups scientists devoted to the study of the mechanisms of pain, the management of pain and the relief of from it.

The core research facilities have been designed with three separate wings to include wet lab facilities, pre-clinical behavioural research, and clinical behavioural research. The facility is linked to the small animal fMRI unit operated by the Small Animal Imaging Laboratory (SAIL).

This is a list of faculty members currently conducting neuroscience-related research at the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain.  Follow the links to read about each investigator's research interests, publications and the work being done in their laboratory.

BEAUDET, ALAIN

Tel: (514) 398-1913
E-mail: alain.beaudet [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Receptor function in relation to spinal mechanisms of acute and chronic inflammatory pain

The laboratory of Dr. Alain Beaudet investigates the expression, localization, regulation and function of neuropeptide receptors implicated in antinociception. Current investigations focus on mechanisms of opioid and neurotensin receptor function in relation to spinal mechanisms of acute and chronic inflammatory pain, with the ultimate aim of designing better and safer analgesic drugs.

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

BENNETT, GARY J.

Tel: (514) 398-3432
E-mail: gary.bennett [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Pathogenesis of painful peripheral neuropathies

The focus of my laboratory’s work is on the pathogenesis of painful peripheral neuropathies and the development of new analgesics for the control of neuropathic pain. We use behavioural, anatomical (immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy), and electrophysiological (single nerve fiber recordings) methods to study nerve injury-evoked changes in the pain system. Our emphasis for the past few years has been on the dose-limiting painful peripheral neuropathies produced by chemotherapeutic drugs (e.g., paclitaxel, vincristine, and oxaliplatin). Our data has led to the hypothesis that the fundamental cause of these conditions is a drug effect on mitochondria in primary afferent neurons.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

BINIK, YITZCHAK (IRV)

Tel: (514) 398-6095
E-mail: irv.binik [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Pain during intercourse among women

Dr. Irv Binik, a professor in the Dept of Psychology at McGill and director of the Royal Victoria Sex and Couple Therapy Service, has been looking into the problem of pain during intercourse among women. He focuses particularly on the problems of dyspareunia and vaginismus, both of which are types of recurrent acute pain during intercourse.

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

CERVERO, FERNANDO

Tel: (514) 398-5764
E-mail: fernando.cervero [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Physiology of somatic sensory systems in the periphery and the spinal cord

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

CODERRE, TERENCE

Tel: (514) 398-5773
E-mail: terence.coderre [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Neuroplasticity in the spinal cord dorsal horn and brain

Our main research interest is the pharmacological, neurochemical and anatomical characterization of mechanisms underlying neuroplasticity in the spinal cord dorsal horn and brain, and its influence on pain perception. Techniques used in our labs, and through interactions with our collaborators, include behavioural nociceptive testing, neuropharmacology, in vivo microdialysis, light and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry, autoradiography and image analysis. The purpose of these investigations is to provide integrated anatomical, neurochemical and physiological information on how excitatory amino acids, neuropeptides and growth factors interact with their receptors and intracellular messengers to induce states of noxious stimulus-induced plasticity in the central nervous system that lead to behavioural hyperalgesia or enhanced pain perception.

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

CUELLO, A. CLAUDIO

Tel: (514) 398-3618
E-mail: claudio.cuello [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Alzheimer’s disease neuropathology, degeneration and repair of the CNS

Dr. Cuello leads a research team working on multidisciplinary aspects of aging, models of Alzheimer’s disease neuropathology, degeneration and repair of the CNS. His group investigates the pre-postsynaptic relations in physiologically characterized pyramidal and non-pyramidal cortical neurons in aged, cognitively impaired and non-impaired rats; the trophic factor dependency in the maintenance of synaptic numbers and the impact of amyloid peptides in transmitter specific systems of glutamatergic presynaptic boutons during mild cognitive impairment. J Neurosci

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

DE KONINCK, YVES

Tel: (418) 663-5747
E-mail: yves.dekoninck [at] crulrg.ulaval.ca

Research:  Sensory input to the spinal cord

Sensory experience depends to a large extent on how the central nervous system (CNS) processes incoming information from stimuli that impinge on the body. Our research focuses on the chemical mechanisms responsible for the integration of sensory input to the spinal cord, especially as they pertain to pain. Following spinal cord or peripheral nerve injury, a number of events take place in the CNS by which the efficacy and nature of chemical transmission is altered on a short and/or long term basis.

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

DIATCHENKO, LUDA

Tel: (514) 398-2878
E-mail: luda.diatchenko [at] mcgill.ca

Research: Acute & Persistant Pain

Persistent pain is a part of many common human clinical conditions, yet the current ability to diagnose and manage these conditions is inadequate. Pain perception is one of the most complicated measurable traits, as it is composed of an aggregate of several other measurable phenotypes associated with peripheral and central nervous system dynamics, stress responsiveness, and inflammatory state. It is generally accepted that complex traits, like pain perception, result from the interplay between environmental exposures and multiple genetic variants. The Diatchenko lab investigates the psychological, molecular, cellular, and genetic pathways that mediate both acute and persistent pain states. The primary goal is to identify the critical elements of human genetic variability contributing to pain sensitivity and pathophysiological pain states that will enable individualized treatments and therapies. Other related research endeavors include molecular hierarchy of functional SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) and SNP-depend regulation of gene expression underlying molecular pain signaling. Answering these questions requires collaboration with experts in both clinical and basic biological sciences. Such collaborative activities allow the Diatchenko group to take basic genetic findings all the way from human association studies, through molecular and cellular mechanisms, to animal models, and ultimately to human clinical trials.

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

FINLAYSON, RODERICK

Tel: (514) 934-1934 ext. 43261
E-mail: roderick.finlayson [at] mcgill.ca

Research: My research focuses on an area of pain treatment called interventional pain management, in which minimally invasive procedures are used to relieve pain. In the past these techniques were done using surface landmarks or with X-ray guidance, however ultrasound imaging has been introduced to the field, and my work has focused on developing and validating new interventional pain and regional anesthesia procedures that use ultrasound guidance. I have a particular interest in techniques for neck pain and cervicogenic headaches.
As medical director of the McGill RUIS centre of expertise in chronic pain, I am also involved in research on the use of multidisciplinary primary care programs for the treatment of low back pain.

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

GAMSA, ANN

Tel: (514) 934-1934
E-mail:  ann.gamsa [at] muhc.mcgill.ca

Research: Effects of psychological strategies on pain and quality of life

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

HAMEL, EDITH

Tel: (514) 398-8928
E-mail: edith.hamel [at] mcgill.ca

Research:   Interaction between neurons and cerebral blood vessels

Our research interests are primarily devoted to the study of brain circulation and the interaction between neurons and cerebral blood vessels. In this respect, vascular head pain that develops in the context of migraine headache has been associated to neurovascular dysfunctions of the trigeminovascular system innervating meningeal blood vessels. These vascular afferents release calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and substance P (SP), and this release is negatively regulated by serotonine (5-HT1) heteroreceptors. Additionally, the release of peptides in the brainstem nucleus trigeminalis caudalis may be an important step in the transmission of pain centrally.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

JOHNSTON, CELESTE

Tel: (514)398-4157
E-mail: celeste.johnston [at] mcgill.ca

Research: Pain in infants, particularly procedural pain in preterm neonates, has been the focus of my research over the past two decades. Following work on assessment in this non-verbal population, my work now is primarily on non-pharmacological interventions to decrease procedural pain in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as well as long term outcomes of pain in this population.

LUSSIER, DAVID

Tel: (514) 934-80155
E-mail: david.lussier [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  New approaches to manage pain

Lussier’s research interests include pharmacology of analgesics and new approaches to manage pain, with a special focus on older persons. He has written several review articles and book chapters on the treatment of pain in older patients and patients with cancer, as well as on adjuvant analgesics. He is also a co-editor of a book on 'Pharmacology of Pain' published by IASP Press in 2010. He has given numerous conferences, both at national and international levels.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

MA, WEIYA

Tel: (514) 761-6131 ext. 2935
E-mail: weiya.ma [at] douglas.mcgill.ca

Research:  Inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of chronic pain

My long term research interest is to advance the understanding of the role of inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of chronic pain conditions.   My current research interest focuses on uncovering the contribution of invading macrophage derived COX2/PGE2 in injured nerves to stimulating the synthesis of pain-related molecules, such as neuropeptides, growth factors and cytokines, in primary nociceptive sensory neurons following nerve injury. Hopefully, the data generated from this line of research will narrow the knowledge gap on the underlying mechanisms of neuropathic pain and will open novel therapeutic avenues to tackle this deliberating disease.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

MELZACK, RONALD

Tel: (514) 398-6084
E-mail: ronald.melzack [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Pain mechanisms in humans and animals

Prof. Melzack is now a Professor Emeritus and has been developing a new theory of brain function related to pain. His earlier theories – the gate control theory and the multidimensional concept of pain – are unable to explain most chronic pains. In 1989, he proposed the neuromatrix theory to reveal brain mechanisms that can generate prolonged, severe, localized pain in the absence of sensory input. He is currently developing a model of brain function that is able to explain chronic pains which are still poorly understood and are suffered by huge numbers of people who are not helped by any of the available drugs.

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

MOGIL, JEFFREY S.

Tel: (514) 398-6085
E-mail: jeffrey.mogil [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Uncovering and explaining sources of variability in experiencing pain.

Pain is a complex, subjective experience that displays considerable variability compared to other sensory modalities. In some instances and in some people, intensely noxious stimuli are not reported as causing pain, whereas others can experience excruciating pain from light touching the skin. Some people are highly sensitive to pain relief from placebo administration, while others are insensitive to even high doses of morphine. Following nerve injury, only a small proportion of people go on to develop chronic, neuropathic pain. Research is focused on uncovering and explaining sources of variability in these phenomena.

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

NÉRON, SYLVAIN

Tel: (514) 340-8222 ext. 3223
E-mail: //sylvain.neron [at] mcgill.ca">sylvain.neron [at] mcgill.ca

Research: Dr. Sylvain Néron is developing scientific evidence for non-pharmacological techniques, such as clinical hypnosis, in improving symptom management and reducing anxiety and pain in cancer patients who are undergoing diagnostic and surgical procedures.

OUELLET, JEAN

Research: McGill Scoliosis & Spine Group has broadened its current research filed by amalgamating its biomechanical expertise with new collaborators in the goal to better understand the pathophysiology of spinal ailments. Past spinal research was either mechanical in nature or purely cellular. We are currently involved in research which will assess cellular response to external mechanical forces. We are concentrating our efforts on three specific topics: pathophysiology of progressive spinal deformities in scoliosis, pathophysiology of degenerative disc disease, and pathophysiology of pain generating patterns in the spine.

PÉREZ, JORDI

Tel: (514) 934-8222
E-mail://jordi.perez [at] muhc.mcgill.ca"> jordi.perez [at] muhc.mcgill.ca

Research: I am interested in the analgesic effects of various interventional pain management techniques such as nerve blocks, spinal analgesics and neuromodulation techniques.

RIBEIRO-DA-SILVA, ALFREDO

Tel: (514) 398-3619
E-mail: alfredo.ribeirodasilva [at] mcgill.ca

Research: Arthritis and neuropathic pain

My main research interest is the unravelling of the mechanisms underlying chronic pain states, both in the central and peripheral nervous systems. I am particularly interested in arthritis and neuropathic pain models. Methods used in my lab include: immunocytochemistry at the light and electron microscopic levels, animal behaviour testing, and neurochemistry.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

RIOPELLE, RICHARD J

Tel: (514) 398-1904
E-mail: richard.riopelle [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Health systems strengthening for persons with neurological disorders

Over the past ten years, my collaborative program of research has focused on imparting the scientific foundations of innovation fluency to build capacity for practice, program, and policy directed to health systems strengthening for persons with chronic neurological disorders. The process involves evidence-informed co-creation activities involving provider and policy professionals within a national advocacy coalition framework.  See: www.mybrainmatters.ca.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

SCHWEINHARDT, PETRA

Tel: (514) 398-7203 ext. 0420
E-mail: petra.schweinhardt [at] mcgill.ca

Research: Alterations that occur in the CNS of chronic pain patients

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 in vivo brain imaging techniques in humans. I am particularly interested in the structural, functional and biochemical 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.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

SÉGUÉLA, PHILIPPE

Tel: (514) 398-5029
E-mail: philippe.seguela [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Molecular basis of hyperexcitability in the brain and in sensory pathways

Dr. Philippe Séguéla is primarily interested in the molecular basis of hyperexcitability in the brain and in sensory pathways. Fast synaptic communication required for pain perception, motor control and memory is mediated by the activation of post-synaptic receptor-channels. Dr. Séguéla's team uses a multidisciplinary approach based on recombinant DNA methodology, biochemistry, electrophysiological recordings or calcium imaging in mammalian neurons, transfected cells and the Xenopus oocyte expression system.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

SHARIF-NAEINI, REZA

Tel: 514-398-5361
E-mail: //reza.sharif [at] mcgill.ca">reza.sharif [at] mcgill.ca

Research: We are interested in understanding the molecular bases of mechanotransduction, and the role of mechanosensory neurons in normal and pathological pain transmission. Mechanotransduction, the process through which cells convert a mechanical stimulus into an electrical signal, is of fundamental importance to physiological functions such as our senses of touch (including pain) and hearing, as well as our ability to regulate our hydromineral homeostasis (thirst), baroreflex function and myogenic tone (regulation of blood pressure). Mechanosensitive ion channels are membrane proteins responsible for most mechanotransduction processes, yet their molecular identity has not been fully resolved. Because these channels are involved in several pathologies of the nervous (chronic pain, deafness) and cardiovascular (hypertension) systems, the molecular identification of these channels, and understanding their activation properties may lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies in several clinical areas.

SHIR, YORAM

Tel: (514) 934-8558

Research: Prevention and treatment of chronic pain

Prevention and treatment of chronic pain; basic mechanisms of dietary analgesia; human pain modification by nutritional changes; opioids in acute and chronic pain conditions

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

STONE, LAURA S.

Tel: (514) 398-7203 ext. 00039
E-mail: laura.s.stone [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Analgesic Pharmacology,  Animal and Human Models of Chronic Back Pain

My research program is focused on the neurobiology and treatment of chronic pain. We are a) examining the mechanisms underlying the synergistic interaction observed between analgesic drugs that target G-protein coupled receptors; b) studying the etiology of chronic low back pain in pre-clinical and human models. We use a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates a broad range of methods including in vivo behavior, pharmacology, immunohistochemistry and MRI. For more information, please see www.stonepainlab.com.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

SULLIVAN, MICHAEL J.

Tel: (514) 398-5677
E-mail: michael.sullivan [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Psychological determinants of pain experience and pain expression

My research focuses primarily on the psychological determinants of pain experience and pain expression. Separate lines of research address questions of interest from basic, clinical and applied perspectives. At the basic process level, my research is currently focusing on the nature of behavioural systems involved in the communication of pain. At the clinical level, I have recently launched two longitudinal studies examining psychological predictors of problematic medical outcomes.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

VELLY, ANA

E-mail: ana.velly [at] mcgill.ca

Research:  Prevention and the treatment of acute and chronic pain

A major goal of Dr Velly’s research is to elucidate strategies to promote the prevention and the treatment of acute and chronic pain. More specifically, her current research projects involve: 1) Identifying the risk and prognostic factors related to acute and chronic pain; 2) Determining the prognostic factors related to unsuccessful pain treatment; 3) Assessing the prevalence of comorbid pain conditions; 4) Determining the relationship between chronic pain and comorbid conditions; and 5) Evaluating the best strategies for the management of acute and chronic pain.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

WALKER, DOMINIQUE

Tel: (514) 761-6131
E-mail: waldom [at] douglas.mcgill.ca

More info:  http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

WARE, MARK

Tel: (514) 934-8242
E-mail: mark.ware [at] muhc.mcgill.ca

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php

ZHANG, JI

Tel:  (514) 398-7203 ext. 00036
E-mail: ji.zhang [at] mcgill.ca

Research: Immune etiology of chronic pain            

Chronic pain is a sensory disorder resulting from infection, injury, cancer or some metabolic/neurodegenerative diseases, which has an enormous negative impact on the quality of life of individuals affected by this problem. While for decades, a neuron-centric view has predominated to explain the pathophysiology of chronic pain, recent work has uncovered extensive neuroimmune interactions as substrates.  

The main stream of our research program is to investigate the immune etiology of chronic pain by exploring the interactions between injured neurons and their surrounding glia/immune cells and the impact of glial activation in pain behavior.

More info: http://painresearchcenter.mcgill.ca/members.php