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
Pain. 2018 Jul 02;:
Bosma RL, Kim JA, Cheng JC, Rogachov A, Hemington KS, Osborne NR, Oh J, Davis KD
Neuroimage Clin. 2018;19:551-558
Misquitta K, Dadar M, Tarazi A, Hussain MW, Alatwi MK, Ebraheem A, Multani N, Khodadadi M, Goswami R, Wennberg R, Tator C, Green R, Colella B, Davis KD, Mikulis D, Grinberg M, Sato C, Rogaeva E, Louis Collins D, Tartaglia MC
Pain. 2018 Jun 13;:
Zhong J, Chen DQ, Hung PSP, Hayes DJ, Liang KE, Davis KD, Hodaie M
Pain. 2018 Apr 26;:
Cheng JC, Rogachov A, Hemington KS, Kucyi A, Bosma RL, Lindquist MA, Inman RD, Davis KD
J Hand Ther. 2018 Apr - Jun;31(2):184-194
Osborne NR, Anastakis DJ, Davis KD
Blood. 2018 Apr 18;:
Laetsch TW, Maude SL, Milone MC, Davis KL, Krueger J, Cardenas AM, Eldjerou LK, Keir CH, Wood PA, Grupp SA
Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging. 2018 Apr;3(4):337-347
Fettes PW, Moayedi M, Dunlop K, Mansouri F, Vila-Rodriguez F, Giacobbe P, Davis KD, Lam RW, Kennedy SH, Daskalakis ZJ, Blumberger DM, Downar J
N Engl J Med. 2018 02 01;378(5):439-448
Maude SL, Laetsch TW, Buechner J, Rives S, Boyer M, Bittencourt H, Bader P, Verneris MR, Stefanski HE, Myers GD, Qayed M, De Moerloose B, Hiramatsu H, Schlis K, Davis KL, Martin PL, Nemecek ER, Yanik GA, Peters C, Baruchel A, Boissel N, Mechinaud F,...
J Neurotrauma. 2017 Dec 14;:
Taghdiri F, Chung J, Irwin S, Multani N, Tarazi A, Ebraheem A, Khodadadi M, Goswami R, Wennberg R, Mikulis D, Green RE, Davis K, Tator C, Eizenman M, Tartaglia MC



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