Research at University Health Network
Technology Transfer
Menu Level 3  
Karen D Davis, PhD
Senior Scientist, Toronto Western Research Institute (TWRI)
Scientific Division Head: Research, Toronto Western Research Institute (TWRI)
Keywords: electrophysiology, pain, attention, fMRI, psychophysics, cortex, OCD 

Research Interests
The main interest of 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 functional brain imaging (fMRI, PET), psychophysical and cognitive assessment, and electrophysiological recordings in the thalamus and cortex.

The lab has been refining imaging and electrophysiological techniques to allow for clinically-relevant investigations of pain, temperature sense and movement disorders in normal and injured states. For instance, we are developing tools to detect brain activity related to at different perceptual outcomes evoked by thermal and painful stimuli and how these are altered in different attentional states. For instance, whether separate cortical or thalamic regions are involved in specific tasks (such as was found for attention and pain-regions in the cingulate cortex) reveal important organizational patterns in normal and diseased states. These data may assist in diagnoses (pre-surgical, psychiatric, etc.) in a variety of patient groups.

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, fMRI and structural MRI studies of chronic pains (e.g., temporomandibular disorder, 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

  • Additional Appointments
    • Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto

    Pubmed Publications
    Perform an automatic PubMed search of this researcher's publications.
      Karen  D Davis

    Phone Numbers


    Home Researchers Facilities Support Services Programs Commercialization Ethics News About UHN Institutes OCI Techna TGRI TRI TWRI hyperlink to UHNResearchnews Facebook page hyperlink to UHNResearch Twitter feed