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Liisa Holsti, PhD

Associate Professor

Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy

Faculty of Medicine

University of British Columbia

Preterm infant and animal studies suggest that exposure to pain and other stressors may alter brain development. For example, human infant and animals studies show that a single painful event can induce long term behavioural changes and decrease expression of genes coding for proteins that are protective against neuronal cell death. These alterations may then contribute directly and indirectly to the ways in which the central nervous system processes future painful events and ultimately to the developmental impairments found later in these children. Liisa’s research program, the Developmental Care Program, focuses on finding ways to assess and treat effectively pain and stress in preterm infants in the NICU. Her long-term objective is aimed at improving the health of preterm infants by minimizing the impact of the NICU environment and painful/stressful procedures on the development of the brain. Outside of work, you can find Liisa gardening, fixing up her house, swimming, jogging or walking the dog, reading mystery novels or watching movies. Her research focuses on premature infants, pain, stress, measurement, randomized trials, technology transfer, and occupational therapy.

Research Keywords: premature infant, pain, occupational therapy

CIHR Pillar(s): 
Biomedical Research, Clinical Research

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