Assistant Professor, Neurobiology
B.S., University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Our perception of the world around us is heavily shaped by factors such as prior experience, expectations, attentional focus, and drugs—both therapeutic and recreational. Yet, how context influences sensory information processing in the brain is largely a mystery. The Banghart Lab aims to understand how the brain controls the perception of pain. Toward this goal, the lab studies the neural mechanisms that support both pharmacological analgesia (e.g. opioid painkillers), as well as “top-down” pain modulation, wherein pain suppression is driven purely by cognitive processes (e.g. placebo analgesia). By revealing the similarities and differences between the neural circuits and neurochemical signals that underlie these forms of pain modulation, this work may one day contribute to the development of new therapies.