A New Approach page top left image

Pain Research Forum


An Internet-based community of researchers dedicated to translating basic neurobiology into new treatments for chronic pain

Persistent pain represents a substantial and growing unmet medical need, affecting nearly half of people seeking medical care in the US and accounting for at least $80 billion worth of lost productivity each year. In the last 40 years, researchers have made dramatic progress in understanding the molecular mechanisms and neurobiology of pain, but few of these discoveries have been translated into new treatments. In particular, neuropathic pain—pain that results from damage, degeneration or dysfunction of the sensory nervous system—remains largely untreatable.

To help bridge the gap between laboratory science and patients in need, the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center has developed the Pain Research Forum (www.painresearchforum.org), an interactive web site dedicated to basic and translational pain research. Modeled on the highly successful Alzheimer Research Forum and similar sites for schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease, the PRF aims to build a virtual community of investigators focused on mechanisms and new treatments for neuropathic pain and other complex pain conditions. The goal of the site is to speed the translation of basic knowledge into novel therapies by improving information sharing between labs and the clinic, by fostering new collaborations among researchers, and by raising interest in pain research among the wider community of neuroscientists and clinicians.

The Pain Research Forum is a joint project of the HNDC and the Massachusetts General Hospital Science Collaboration Framework (SCF) led by Tim Clark, director of Informatics at the Mass General Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND). A Scientific Advisory Board made up of prominent pain researchers and clinicians is guiding content development.

PRF launched in June 2011 with funding from two private foundations, and today enjoys support from nine organizations representing three sectors--professional societies and associations; foundations and philanthropists; and the pharmaceutical industry.


PRF Scientific Advisory Board

  • Allan I. Basbaum, PhD, FRS, University of California San Francisco, USA
  • David Bennett, MB, PhD, University of Oxford, Oxford University, UK
  • M. Catherine Bushnell, PhD, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Bethesda, USA
  • Howard Fields, MD, PhD, University of California San Francisco, USA
  • Kathleen M. Foley, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Open Society Foundations, New York, USA
  • Ru-Rong Ji, PhD, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, USA
  • Eija Kalso, MD, DMedSci, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Joseph B. Martin, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
  • Jeffrey S. Mogil, PhD, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD, Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
  • Frank Porreca, PhD, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA
  • Theodore Price, PhD, The University of Texas at Dallas, USA
  • Claudia Sommer, MD, University of Würzburg, Germany
  • Clifford Woolf, MD, PhD, Boston Children's Hospital, USA

For more information, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .