NIH Pain
Research Center

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Research Program (IRP) Pain Research Center, located within the NIH Clinical Center, is a multidisciplinary, trans-NIH initiative that is working to:

  • Identify specific pain mechanisms,
  • Determine the efficacy of nonopioid treatments, and
  • Predict individual patient response to therapies and outcomes.

The mission of the NIH Pain Research Center is to create a pain phenotyping platform within the NIH Clinical Center to better understand mechanisms of diverse pain states, in order to recommend personalized therapies to better manage or prevent the development of chronic pain and opioid abuse.

David Shurtleff, Ph.D., is the Acting Director of the NIH Pain Research Center.

More Information

The Pain Research Center’s efforts focus on the urgent need to develop a pain phenotyping and brain imaging platform to support project-specific initiatives and serve the many patients at the Clinical Center who are experiencing intractable pain associated with their disease and/or treatment. The Pain Research Center collects a wide range of measures related to pain, thus allowing the clinicians at NIH to formally quantify patients’ pain and target it with effective novel nonopioid interventions. Common methodological approaches used in the Center’s research projects include quantitative sensory and autonomic testing, brain imaging, core questionnaires, and genetic sequencing.


The center received a 2020 Director’s Challenge Award.

Welcome to new staff: Monique Perry (Research Nurse) and Hayley Owens (Clinical Research Coordinator).

Participating Institutes or Centers at NIH

Currently, 11 NIH ICs participate in the NIH Pain Research Center.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

NIH Clinical Center (CC)

Contact Us

For more information about the NIH Pain Research Center and how to collaborate with us, please complete and submit the form.

If you are a patient and would like more information about complementary and integrative therapies for pain, please contact the NCCIH Information Clearinghouse. To participate (as a patient or healthy volunteer) in NIH clinical trials on pain, please call 301-594-5731 or visit