Pain Research

Pain Research
Researchers at Johns Hopkins are leading the way toward a better understanding of how pain works and transforming its management, by taking into account the myriad factors involved and by finding new ways to “see” pain. 
The key is collaboration between multidisciplinary experts in pain’s key components. Together with our collaborators across Johns Hopkins, we are:
  • Uncovering the synergy between sensory nerves, anatomic nerves, non-neuronal cells and the specific molecules within these various cell types that contribute to both the initial occurrence of pain and the neuroplastic events that allow pain to outlive its usefulness after an injury.
  • Investigating the spinal cord and how it coordinates and processes the variety of signals it receives to act as a “gatekeeper” for pain sensation. 
  • Using detailed recordings from the surface of the brain to map different sensory stimuli to learn how the brain can distinguish a feather stroke from a burn. 
  • Conducting human and animal studies to uncover how nerve stimulation can paradoxically interfere with pain transmission—what works, and why. 
Pain is a feared symptom that is devastating to human lives, and because of this our work attracts bright minds and generous support. Together we are creating new and brave ideas that provide options for practitioners and hope and relief for patients.

Research Labs & Centers

Neurosurgery Pain Research Institute


Conquering Pain | A 40-Year Journey

A 1976 car crash left Ohio resident David Kiessling suffering from devastating nerve damage and searing pain. An online search led him to neurosurgeon Allan Belzberg and the Neurosurgery Pain Research Institute, where Kiessling’s journey of recovery is helping researchers better understand pain.