Our Team


David Borsook, MD PhD

David Borsook, MD PhD

Dr. Borsook is director of the Center for Pain and the Brain, which encompasses Boston Children's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and McLean Hospital. He is a Professor in Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School. As a leading researcher in the field of pain, Dr. Borsook has helped improve understanding of healthy and unhealthy neural pain networks in both humans and animal models.
Lino Becerra, PhD

Lino Becerra, PhD

Dr. Becerra is co-director of the Center for Pain and the Brain, which spans Boston Children's Hospital, McLean Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. He is an Associate Professor in Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School. He trained in biophysics at the University of Illinois. Dr. Becerra heads the animal imaging program. These projects complement the human imaging research.

Research Staff Members

Andrew Youssef, PhD

Dr. Youssef is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School and a Research Fellow at Boston Children's Hospital. He earned his PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Sydney and has gained extensive experience with structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Currently, he employs human brain imaging techniques to explore central changes associated with the development, persistence and recovery of chronic pain following lower extremity injury. He is also the current recipient of the Anesthesia Distinguished Trailblazer Award, utilizing near-infrared spectroscopy to investigate temporal correlates associated with conditioned pain modulation phenomena.
Dusica Bajic, MD PhD

Dusica Bajic, MD PhD

Dr. Bajic is a pediatric anesthesiologist and a neuroscientist. She conducts research in the field of ontogeny of acute and chronic opioid effects. She also provides pediatric anesthesia care in the operating room, and teaches both in the laboratory and clinical settings. Dr. Bajic received her MD from the Medical School of the University of Belgrade, Serbia and PhD from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, IL. Her postdoctoral training included: (1) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, (2) Anesthesia Residency training at Yale New Haven Hospital, Yale University, as well as (3) Pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship at Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard University where she now works as board certified staff pediatric anesthesiologist since 2008. She is a recipient of NIH K08 grant (with highest score 10) entitled “Ontogeny of Opioid Effect: Animal – Human Correlation (2013-2018).”
Duncan Hodkinson, PhD

Duncan Hodkinson, PhD

Dr Hodkinson earned his PhD in Neuroscience from King's College London. His main interests are in studying human brain systems involved in homeostasis, pain, and the response to analgesia. Dr Hodkinson has a particular interest in imaging the neural processes leading to the perception of pain and pain-relief. His research approach consists of combining advanced fMRI techniques with physiological and subjective measures of pain in order to gain insight into the function of the central nervous system.

Elisabeth Colon, PhD

Elisabeth Colon graduated from the Université Catholique de Louvain at Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) in Psychological Sciences. She completed her PhD in Neurosciences on pain research and the development of new methods to study nociception and pain perception in the human brain using EEG techniques. Since October 2015, she has been a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Pain and the Brain. Her current research projects focused on how anesthetics act in the brain.

Eric Moulton, OD PhD

Dr. Moulton is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School, and is a research associate at Boston Children's Hospital. He earned his OD from the New England College of Optometry, and his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. His scientific interests are in sensory processing and its translation into perception/behavior. He has been awarded an R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award from the National Cancer Institute to determine the impact of cerebellar tumor resection on pain in pediatric patients. He has also been a recipient of a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to assess the relationship between pain and the cerebellum in healthy volunteers.
Ke Peng, PhD

Ke Peng, PhD

Ke holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Ecole Polytechnique, University of Montreal, Canada. He received his B. Sc. degree in automation from Tsinghua University, China and his M.Sc.A. degree in computer engineering from Ecole Polytechnique, University of Montreal, Canada. He is now a postdoc research fellow in the P.A.I.N. research group at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. His current research interests pertain to the application of novel optical neuroimaging techniques in the study of pain and analgesia mechanism, perioperative pain assessment, and intensive care.
Laura Simons, PhD

Laura Simons, PhD

Dr. Simons is an associate professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine (pediatric), a staff psychologist at the Pain Management Center, and the Director of the Biobehavioral Pediatric Pain Lab at the Stanford University Medical Center. She is a committed researcher and clinician with a primary focus on assessment and development of treatment interventions to improve the lives of youth with chronic pain. Laura’s program of research encompasses therapeutic program development and evaluation, coping with pain, parent responses to pain, anxiety/fear, psychophysiology, and assessment scale development with pediatric populations. She has received several grants and awards to support her research efforts, with a recently awarded Early Career Award in Pediatric Pain by the International Association for the Study of Pain. Since departing for Stanford in late 2016, Dr. Simons maintains a research associate appointment at Boston Children’s Hospital and continues to work closely with the PAIN group.
Nadia Barakat, PhD

Nadia Barakat, PhD

Dr. Barakat's research focus is on establishing advanced MRI techniques as neurodiagnostic tools to examine the pediatric spinal cord and the characterization of small nerve bundles. She has contributed to identifying the feasibility and reliability of DTI in the pediatric population, and showed differences in DTI values between children with myelitis and controls. Dr. Barakat is a recipient of a NIH K25 research grant to examine pain involvement in patients with spinal cord neuro-inflammatory disease. Her professional aspiration is to employ extensive knowledge of engineering principles to improve medical outcomes in the field of pediatric imaging, along with improve the health of patients with neurological disabilities with more effective technologies and imaging techniques.
Samuel Nurko, MD, MPH

Samuel Nurko, MD, MPH

Samuel Nurko, MD is a practicing Pediatric Gastroenterologist in Boston, MA and the Director of the Center for Motility and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders and the Functional Abdominal Pain Program at Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Nurko graduated from University Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in 1981 and has been in practice for 31 years. He completed a residency at Boston City Hospital.

Lab Coordinator

Larissa Gavio

Larissa Gavio

Larissa graduated from Syracuse University in 2014 with a dual Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She currently works as the lab coordinator and oversees all research projects and lab activities.

Research Assistants

Arielle Lee

Arielle graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Microbial Biology. She is currently involved in studies that use functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure cortical brain activity associated with pain processing in patients during general anesthesia and in clinical settings.

Corey Kronman

Corey graduated from Boston University with a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Engineering in 2013, followed by a Masters of Science in Medical Sciences in 2015. He is involved in an fMRI study looking into pain-related fear learning in children, adolescents, and young adults who are experiencing chronic pain.
Danielle Lee

Danielle Lee

Danielle graduated from Harvard University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is involved in an fMRI imaging project investigating adults who suffer from migraines.
Farah Mahmud

Farah Mahmud

Farah graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience in 2015, followed by a Masters of Science in Medical Sciences in 2017. She is involved in an fMRI study investigating pain-related fear in youth with chronic pain.
PAIN Group

PAIN Group

Helen graduated from Hamilton College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience. She is currently involved in an fMRI study looking at children, adolescents and young adults who suffer from post-concussive headaches.
Katie Silva

Katie Silva

Katie graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. She is currently involved in an MRI project investigating the role of the cerebellum in pain processing in children and young adults.
Natalia Lopez

Natalia Lopez

Natalia graduated from Boston University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience. She is currently involved in multiple MRI studies that investigate the neurological impact of lower extremity injuries, and the impact of anesthesia on the brain.

Research Assistant Alumni

Athena Drosos

MS Candidate in Physician Assistant Studies, Albany Medical College

Adrianna Johnson

MD/PhD Candidate, University of Pittsburgh

Allison Ludwick

Nurse Practitioner candidate at the University of Pennsylvania.

Christina Geatrakas

MD, Syracuse University Medical School

Diana Wallin

PhD Candidate in Neuroscience, University of Minnesota

Gabi Barmettler

MD Candidate, Thomas Jefferson University

Julie Anderson

MA in Epidemiology, University of Illinois at Chicago

James Bishop

PhD in Neuroscience, University of Vermont, Burlington

Jennifer Brawn

DPhil Candidate in Clinical Neuroscience, University of Oxford, UK

Julie Gostic

MS in Radiological Science & Protection, University of Massachusetts; PhD in Radiochemistry, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Jaime Knudsen

PhD Candidate in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Brandeis University

Kim Harter

MD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester

Lianne Jenkins

MPH, Brown University

Lauren Nutile

MD Candidate, VCU School of Medicine

Lito Papanicolas

MBBS, University of Adelaide

Matthew Aiello-Lammens

PhD Candidate in Ecology & Evolution, SUNY Stony Brook

Molly Basch

PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology, University of Florida

Michael Craig

PhD Candidate, Cambridge University

Margaret Grant

PhD Candidate, University of Virginia

Melissa Pielech

PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology, University of New Mexico

Pei-Ching Chang

PhD Candidate in Physiology, Northwestern University

Paul Serrano

DMD Candidate, Tufts University

Rosanna Veggeberg

MS Candidate in Clinical Investigation, Boston University

Sadie Cole

PhD Candidate in Psychology, Harvard University

Susie Morris

MD, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Sarah Steele

MD candidate at University of Tennessee

Shannon Tully

MPH/MBA, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Tali Rasooly

PhD candidate for Clinical Psychology at University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Will Harris

MS Candidate in Biostatistics, UCLA