Brian Cairns

I am a Professor at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Canada and at the Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain, Faculty of Medicine, University of Aalborg, Denmark. I served as President of the Canadian Pain Society from 2016-2018, and Principal Applicant on the UBC and CIHR grants supporting development of the BC Pain Research Network. My professional background is in hospital pharmacy, where I practiced for a number of years as a clinical pharmacist. My main research focus is the identification of novel receptor targets for the development of analgesics that would act on tissues locally to inhibit pain. Effective peripherally restricted analgesics could result in fewer centrally mediated side effects such as drowsiness and sedation, which are common with certain pain-relieving drugs. Another research area involves the role biology plays in the increased prevalence of certain chronic craniofacial pain conditions, such as headaches, stomatodynia and temporomandibular disorders, in women. In particular, I am investigating whether biological factors, for example, sex-related differences in the sensitivity of nerve fibers that innervate the affected craniofacial tissues, contribute to the increased prevalence of these pain conditions in women. An understanding of how biological factors contribute to these pain conditions could lead to better pain management for sufferers. More recently, I have become increasingly interested in the role dietary factors play in the exacerbation of certain chronic pain conditions. This research has identified a mechanism whereby the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) could exacerbate muscle pain in persons suffering from temporomandibular disorders.

Research Keywords: Neuropharmacology, Neurophysiology, Craniofacial Pain, Sex-Related Differences

Kenneth Craig

Dr. Ken Craig is a Clinical Psychologist and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Psychology at UBC. He serves as the BC Pain Research Network Director. Honours have included status as a CIHR Senior Investigator, the Canada Council I.W. Killam Research Fellowship, the Canadian Pain Society Distinguished Career Award, the Canadian Psychological Association Donald O. Hebb Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Science, appointment as an Honorary Member of the International Association for the Study of Pain and the Distinguished Career Award of its Special Interest Group on Pain in Childhood, and the American Pain Society Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Children’s Pain Relief. He has served as President of the Canadian Pain Society and the Canadian Psychological Association, and became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2015. His research is currently funded by CIHR, the US NIH, and the MSFHR.

His research interests include:

  • Measurement of pain, specifically the advantages of nonverbal measures, including facial expression
  • Pain in nonverbal populations and those with communication limitations, including infants, young children, and people with cognitive impairment, including dementias
  • Social and developmental influences on pain perception and expression
  • Biases in judgements of pain and delivery of care

Research Keywords: assessment, social determinants, developmental processes, nonverbal communication

Stacey Herzer

Stacey has a PhD in neuroscience and is the Grants Facilitator and Network Coordinator for the BC Pain Research Network. She supports development of large team grant applications to national and international competitions in pain research, matches researchers with funding opportunities and with potential collaborators. She also helps organize network events and supports network communications.

Research Keywords: neuroscience, gene therapy, nanomedicine, stem cells

Maria Hudspith

Maria joined Pain BC in June 2010 as the inaugural Executive Director. With two decades of experience in community development and systems change, Maria contributes specialized guidance to achieve tangible results. Most of her work has involved mobilizing communities, democratizing organizations and advancing progressive agendas through policy change and program development. Maria is honoured to be a part of the growth and development of this exciting and much needed organization.

Kathryn Sutton

Kat leads Pain BC’s communications initiatives. She brings more than a decade of experience in communicating for progressive non-profits, with a particular focus on marginalized communities including those living with HIV, poverty, substance use and mental illness. She has worked as a journalist, writing for local and international publications, and has contributed to guidebooks on food and travel. She is proud to contribute to Pain BC's significant efforts to transform the way pain is understood and treated in BC.

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