National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Division of Intramural Research

The Division of Intramural Research Program (DIR) at NCCAM 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.

More Information

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 NCCAM DIR provides a rich environment for the training and development of clinical and basic scientists.

Scientific Director: M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.
Phone: 301-451-2026

Pain and Integrative Neuroscience Branch - Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Clinical Investigations Branch

Intramural Staff List and Bios

Division of Intramural Research
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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

Job Openings:

Clinical Trial Recruitment: Brain Response to Pain Control in People With Chronic Pain (

Research Results:

Article: The Functional and Anatomical Dissection of Somatosensory Subpopulations Using Mouse Genetics

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