A photo of Robert Coghill.

Neuroscientist, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


My Biography & Research


Robert C. Coghill is focused on delineating the neural mechanisms supporting individual differences in pain. His research interleaves data obtained with functional MRI of brain activity with subjective reports of pain and psychological state. His work encompasses studies of the effects of expectations on pain, brain mechanisms supporting attention to pain, and processes associated with the cognitive modulation of pain. He is also highly interested in understanding how the nervous system evaluates and constructs an experience of sensory components of pain, including perceived intensity and location. Dr. Coghill also seeks to develop of better tools for the measurement of multiple dimensions of the pain experience.

Together, these pain assessments, psychological profiles, and neuroimaging endpoints can be used in combination to develop strategies to better predict, diagnose, and treat pain. More importantly, this research will be critically important for advancing personalized medicine, with the long-term goal of identifying the best treatment for each individual child.

Research Interests

Chronic pain; acute pain; brain imaging; sensory testing

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Imaging, Behavioral Medicine, Behavioral Medicine, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology

My Education

PhD: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, 1991.

Post-doctoral Fellowship: University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec.

Post-doctoral Fellowship: National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

My Publications

Emerson NM, Zeidan F, Lobanov OV, Hadsel MS, Martucci KT, Quevedo AS, Starr CJ, Nahman-Averbuch H, Weissman-Fogel I, Granovsky Y, Yarnitsky D, Coghill RC. Pain sensitivity is inversely related to regional grey matter density in the brain. Pain. 2014;155(3):566-573.

Starr CJ, Sawaki L, Wittenberg GF, Burdette JH, Oshiro Y, Quevedo AS, McHaffie JG, Coghill RC. The contribution of the putamen to sensory aspects of pain: insights from structural connectivity and brain lesions. Brain. 2011;134(Pt7):1987-2004.

Quevedo AS, Coghill RC. Attentional modulation of spatial integration of pain: Evidence for dynamic spatial tuning. J Neurosci. 2007;27(43):11635-40.

Koyama T, McHaffie J, Laurienti P, Coghill RC. The subjective experience of pain: Where expectations become reality. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2005;102:12950-12955.

Coghill RC, McHaffie JG, Yen Y-F. Neural correlates of inter-individual differences in the subjective experience of pain. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2003;100:8538-8542.

Grill JD, Coghill RC. Transient analgesia evoked by noxious stimulus offset. J Neurophysiol. 2002 Apr;87(4):2205-8.

Coghill RC, Sang CN, Maisog JM, Iadarola MJ. Pain intensity processing within the human brain: A bilateral, distributed mechanism. J Neurophysiol. 1999;82:1934-1943.

Coghill RC, Talbot JD, Meyer E, Gjedde A, Evans AC, Bushnell MC, Duncan GH. Distributed processing of pain and vibration in the human brain. J Neurosci. 1994;14:4095-4108.