Dr. Lopez-Sola’s PENLab (Pain and Emotion Neuroscience Laboratory) aims to identify brain-mind-body mechanisms underlying pain and affective symptoms at the individual patient level. Research in the lab focuses on analyzing and interpreting functional brain imaging data, subjective reports of pain, emotion and thought content, and analysis of psychophysiological and behavioral responses to challenging physical and emotional stimuli. The PENLab also assesses neurophysiological effects of behavioral interventions, such as mindfulness based cognitive therapy and exercise for chronic pain and depression.
PENLab has a fully functional MRI laboratory, with two pressure pain stimulators (one fully automatic). The lab conducts and analyzes psychophysiological assessments during MRI data collection with brain image acquisition, image processing, and statistical analysis of functional and structural MRI data.
Our work provides evidence for distinct neural mechanisms associated with abnormal processing of painful and non-painful multisensory information in different chronic conditions with significant pain complaints, such as fibromyalgia, knee osteoarthritis and recurrent major depression. We also provide evidence for the underlying neural mechanisms associated with clinical response to different forms of treatment. We used computational machine learning techniques to identify a robust and interpretable adult fibromyalgia signature in response to painful pressure and non-painful multisensory signals.