A photo of Robert Coghill.

Robert C. Coghill, PhD

  • Neuroscientist, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



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.

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

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

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

Services and Specialties

Behavioral Medicine, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology


Chronic pain; acute pain; brain imaging; sensory testing

Research Areas

Imaging, Behavioral Medicine



Increased pain sensitivity but normal pain modulation in adolescents with migraine. Nahman-Averbuch, H; Leon, E; Hunter, BM; Ding, L; Hershey, AD; Powers, SW; King, CD; Coghill, RC. Pain. 2019; 160:1019-1028.


Quantitative sensory testing in patients with migraine: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nahman-Averbuch, H; Shefi, T; II, SV J; Li, D; Ding, L; King, CD; Coghill, RC. Pain. 2018; 159:1202-1223.


Lateral inhibition during nociceptive processing. Quevedo, AS; Morch, CD; Andersen, OK; Coghill, RC. Pain. 2017; 158:1046-1052.


Mindfulness-Meditation-Based Pain Relief Is Not Mediated by Endogenous Opioids. Zeidan, F; Adler-Neal, AL; Wells, RE; Stagnaro, E; May, LM; Eisenach, JC; McHaffie, JG; Coghill, RC. Journal of Neuroscience. 2016; 36:3391-3397.


Brain mechanisms supporting the modulation of pain by mindfulness meditation. Zeidan, F; Martucci, KT; Kraft, RA; Gordon, NS; McHaffie, JG; Coghill, RC. Journal of Neuroscience. 2011; 31:5540-5548.


Attentional modulation of spatial integration of pain: evidence for dynamic spatial tuning. Quevedo, AS; Coghill, RC. Journal of Neuroscience. 2007; 27:11635-11640.


The subjective experience of pain: where expectations become reality. Koyama, T; McHaffie, JG; Laurienti, PJ; Coghill, RC. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2005; 102:12950-12955.


Neural correlates of interindividual differences in the subjective experience of pain. Coghill, RC; McHaffie, JG; Yen, YF. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2003; 100:8538-8542.


Transient analgesia evoked by noxious stimulus offset. Grill, JD; Coghill, RC. Journal of Neurophysiology. 2002; 87:2205-2208.


Pain intensity processing within the human brain: a bilateral, distributed mechanism. Coghill, RC; Sang, CN; Maisog, JH; Iadarola, MJ. Journal of Neurophysiology. 1999; 82:1934-1943.

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Robert C. Coghill, PhD, Scott W. Powers, PhD, ABPP, FAHS ...7/3/2019