National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.

Scientific Director, Division of Intramural Research
Senior Investigator, Pain and Integrative Neuroscience Branch (PAIN), NCCAM

M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D., Copyright LISA HELFERT

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.

Research Interests

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 NCCAM 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.

Selected Publications

Contact Information:

M. Catherine Bushnell
Scientific Director, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Institutes of Health
10 Center Drive, Room 4-1743
Bethesda, MD 20892-1302
Mary.bushnell@nih.gov

Curriculum Vitae (170KB PDF)