M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator, Pain and Integrative Neuroscience Branch
Dr. Bushnell holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the American University, Washington, D.C. and received postdoctoral training in neurophysiology at the NIH. She then spent 12 years at the University of Montreal and 16 years as the Harold Griffith Professor of Anesthesia at McGill University before returning to NIH in 2012. She has been president of the Canadian Pain Society, and treasurer and press editor-in-chief of the International Association for the Study of Pain and is currently a councilor for the Society for Neuroscience. Among her honors are the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Pain Society and the Frederick Kerr Basic Science Research Award from the American Pain Society. Her research interests include forebrain mechanisms of pain processing, psychological modulation of pain, and neural alternations in chronic pain patients.
The general mission of Dr. Bushnell’s program is to understand the brain’s role in perceiving, modifying, and managing pain, with a special emphasis on non-pharmacological modulation of pain. The PAIN Branch at NCCIH contains both clinical and basic science programs. Current clinical studies use sensory and physiological testing, functional MRI and TMS to address mechanisms of non-pharmacological modulation of pain in healthy volunteers and chronic pain patients, mechanisms underlying reduced pain perception in yoga practitioners, and neural mechanisms underlying emotional touch. Members of the basic science team are evaluating the effects of environmental factors on brain anatomy and neurotransmission in nociceptive models.
- Loggia M, Juneau M, Bushnell MC. Autonomic responses to heat pain: Heart rate, skin conductance, and their relation to pain ratings and stimulus intensity. Pain, 152: 592–598, 2011.
- Seminowicz DA, Wideman TH, Naso L, Hatami-Khoroushahi Z, Fallatah S, Ware MA, Jarzem P, Bushnell MC, Shir Y, Ouette JA, Stone LS. Effective treatment of low back pain reverses abnormal brain anatomy and function. J. Neuroscience 31: 7540–7550, 2011.
- Villemure C, Laferrière AL and Bushnell MC. The ventral striatum is implicated in the analgesic effect of pleasant odors. Pain Research and Management, 17:69–74, 2012
- Ceko M, Seminowicz DA, Bushnell MC, Olausson HW. ; Anatomical and functional enhancements of the insula after loss of large primary somatosensory fibres. Cerebral Cortex, Sep;23(9):2017–24, 2013.
- Low LA, Millecamps M, Seminowicz DA, Naso L, Thompson SJ, Stone LS, Bushnell MC. Nerve injury causes long-term attentional deficits in rats. Neurosci. Lett. [Epub ahead of print] Sept 19, 2012.
- Liljencrantz J, Bjornsdotter M, Morrison I, Bergstrand S, Ceko M, Seminowicz D, Cole J, Bushnell MC, Olausson O. Altered C-tactile processing in human dynamic tactile allodynia. Pain, 154: 227–234, 2013.
- Takerian M, Alvarado S, Millecamps M, Vachon P, Crosby C, Bushnell MC, Szyf M, Stone LS. Peripheral nerve injury ins associated with chronic, reversible changes in global DNA methylation in the mouse prefrontal cortex. PLoS One, 8(1):e55259, 2013.
- Villemure C, Ceko M, Cotton VA, Bushnell MC. Insular cortex mediates incrased pain tolerance in yoga practitioners. Cerebral Cortex 2013 [Epub ahead of print]
- Bushnell MC, Ceko M, Low LA. Cognitive and emotional control of pain and its disruption in chronic pain. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 14: 502–511, 2013.
- Vachon p, Millecamps M, Low L, Thompson SJ, Pailleux F, Beaudry F, Bushnell MC, Stone LS. Alleviation of chronic neuropathic pain by environmental enrichment in mice well after the establishment of chronic pain. Behav. Brain Funct. 9: 9–22, 2013.
- Ceko M, Bushnell MC, Fitzcharles MA, Schweinhardt P. Fibromyalgia interacts with age to change the brain. Neuroimage: Clinical, Sep 6;3:249–60. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2013.08.015. eCollection 2013. PMID: 24273710 [PubMed]
- Thompson SJ, Millecamps M, Allaga A, Seminowicz DA, Low LA, Bedell BJ, Stone LS, Schweinhardt P, Bushnell MC. Metabolic brain activity suggestive of persistent pain in a rat model of neuropathic pain. Neuroimage, 2014 Jan 21. pii: S1053–8119(14)00041-X. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.01.020. [Epub ahead of print]