Division of Intramural Research
The Division of Intramural Research Program (DIR) at NCCIH conducts basic, clinical, and translational research focusing on the role of the brain in perceiving, modifying, and managing pain. Research projects include investigating the role of the brain in pain processing and control, and how factors such as emotion, attention, environment, and genetics affect pain perception.
The program includes research that explores how chronic pain produces changes in the brain that can modify how the brain reacts to pain medications like opioids. Commonly used complementary practices to control pain, such as meditation and yoga, are also investigated.
The program is an integrated basic science and clinical research effort, conducted at the behavioral, systems and cellular levels, exploiting the state-of-the-art research tools and resources at the NIH. Projects involve collaborative efforts with other intramural neuroscience, imaging, and mental and behavioral health research programs. Chronic pain disorders studied include fibromyalgia, back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and more. The NCCIH DIR provides a rich environment for the training and development of clinical and basic scientists.
Scientific Director: M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.
Labs at NCCIH
- Behavioral Section - Yarimar Carrasquillo, Ph.D.
- Clinical Investigations Branch - M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.
- Molecular and Cellular Section - Alexander Chesler, Ph.D.
- Neuroimaging Section - Lauren Atlas, Ph.D.
- Pain and Integrative Neuroscience Branch - M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
National Institutes of Health
Bldg. 10, CRC, Room 4-1743 MSC 1302
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1302
Understanding Pain Seminar Series—NIH Pain Special Interest Group
Join a Study
- NCCIH seeks healthy volunteers to participate in an MRI study exploring how the brain responds to painful stimulations. All study-related tests are provided at no cost. Compensation will be provided. Learn more about the study (ClinicalTrials.gov)
- “Healthy Volunteers Needed” (667KB PDF)
- “Do You Have Fibromyalgia?” (45KB PDF)
- NCCAM Review Analyzes Evidence on Brain Effects from Chronic Pain and Mind and Body Approaches (5/30/13)
- Yoga Practice May Improve Pain Tolerance and Alter Brain Anatomy (5/21/13)