2017/18 UTCSP Pain Scientist Award Recipients

Chulmin Cho is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Loren Martin’s laboratory at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Chulmin earned my specialized BSc in Biochemistry with honours from York University in 2010, and his PhD in Neuroscience from McGill University in 2016, working with Dr. Lorraine Chalifour and Dr. Hemant Paudel. For his Ph.D thesis, he has uncovered Egr-1 transcription factor as a regulator of a dendritic spine protein called drebrin, which is known to be lost in Alzheimer’s disease leading to synapse loss. Currently, he is investigating opioid-mediated placebo analgesia in a mouse model of chronic neuropathic pain using pharmacological conditioning. His research will help deepen our understanding of the pathways involved in endogenous control of pain, and lead to discovery of better pain management strategies.

Abigail D'Souza completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Toronto.  She is currently a second year Masters student in Pharmaceutical Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Robert Bonin at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. Abigail's research focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which plastic changes in pain pathways contribute to chronic pain.  She is particularly interested in identifying the mechanisms by which these changes can be manipulated via reconsolidation and exploring the possible role that defects in reconsolidation play in chronic pain.  The results of this project could yield profound new insights into the processes by which plasticity is regulated in the CNS, and identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of chronic pain.

Natalie Osborne completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours in Biomedical Sciences) at the University of Guelph, and a Master’s degree in Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience at Western University under the supervision of Dr. Adrian Owen. Her MSc project used fMRI to investigate real and imagined responses to commands in healthy individuals and patients with disorders of consciousness. Now entering the 2nd year of her PhD in the lab of Dr. Karen Davis at the Krembil Research Institute, her research is investigating the brain and behavioural characteristics of pain in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. She is particularly interested in combining neuroimaging (fMRI & MEG) and psychophysical techniques to explore the role of central pain processing and pain modulation systems in carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as sex differences in the disease’s prevalence and symptoms.

Sarasa Tohyama completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychology at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Mogil. She is currently in her second year of a Master’s degree under the supervision of Dr. Mojgan Hodaie at the Krembil Research Institute. Using neuroimaging, she is investigating the structural and functional brain correlates of trigeminal neuralgia, and its association with emotional processing.

Virginia Yini is currently a MSc student at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, in Dr. Robert P. Bonin’s lab. She received her Bachelor of Science Honours Degree from the University of Toronto in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. She is currently studying how the experience of pain can be modulated through touch-induced emotional contagion in rodents. Her project specifically aims to determine if prior physical contact and the presence of a conspecific has an effect on the perception of pain and to determine if mouse model of autism demonstrates altered emotional contagion of pain through physical interaction.