Karen D Davis

Karen D Davis, PhD

The main focus of research in my lab is the central mechanisms underlying pain and temperature perception, the influence of attention and mechanisms of plasticity under normal conditions and in patients with neurologic or psychiatric disorders. A variety of experimental techniques are used, including structural and functional brain imaging (MRI, MEG), psychophysical and cognitive assessment.

The lab has been refining brain imaging techniques to allow for clinically-relevant investigations of pain in normal and injured states. For instance, we are developing and applying tools to detect the individual differences in brain circuitry underlying pain and the different ways in which people cope with pain and balance cognitive demands with pain. We hope to use these approaches to understand brain abnormalities in chronic pain, treatment responses, and to predict how patients with chronic pain will respond to specific treatments. The lab is also applying these approaches to understand the impact of concussion on brain structure and function.

Specific projects include:
  • Psychophysical studies of acute pain qualities
  • Functional and structural MRI studies of acute pain qualities (prickling pain, cold pain, etc.)
  • Physiological, psychophysical, functional and structural MRI, and MEG studies of chronic pain (e.g., neuropathic pain)
  • Psychophysical, functional and structural MRI studies of the interaction between pain and attention
  • Behavioural and imaging studies of individual factors (e.g., personality, coping) contributing to pain sensitivity
  • Brain imaging studies of sports-related concussions
Neuroimage Clin. 2017;15:710-718
Hung PS, Chen DQ, Davis KD, Zhong J, Hodaie M
Front Neuroanat. 2017;11:47
Coulombe MA, Lawrence KS, Moulin DE, Morley-Forster P, Shokouhi M, Nielson WR, Davis KD
Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2017 Jun 15;:
Bidad K, Gracey E, Hemington KS, Mapplebeck JCS, Davis KD, Inman RD
Neuroimage. 2017 Jun 03;157:61-68
Cheng JC, Bosma RL, Hemington KS, Kucyi A, Lindquist MA, Davis KD
J Pain. 2017 May 12;:
Hemington KS, Cheng JC, Bosma RL, Rogachov A, Kim JA, Davis KD
Front Neuroanat. 2016;10:121
Avivi-Arber L, Seltzer Z, Friedel M, Lerch JP, Moayedi M, Davis KD, Sessle BJ
Clin J Pain. 2016 Sep 17;
Davis KD, Seminowicz DA
Pain. 2016 Jul 15;
Rogachov A, Cheng JC, Erpelding N, Hemington KS, Crawley AP, Davis KD



Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto
Professor, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto
Cross Appointment, The Joint Department of Medical Imaging, University Health Network/Mount Sinai Hospital/Woman’s College Hospital
Associate Scientific Staff, Departments of Dentistry and Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital