The Brain and Pain:

Breakthroughs in Neuroscience

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Richard Ambron

Emeritus professor of pathology, anatomy, and cell biology 
Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University

In conversation with:

Dr. Frances Onyimba, PS '12

Assistant Professor at University of Maryland School of Medicine

Pain is an inevitable part of existence, but severe debilitating or chronic pain is a pathological condition that diminishes the quality of life. This talk explores the present and future of pain management, providing a comprehensive understanding based on the latest discoveries from many branches of neuroscience.

Richard Ambron—the former director of a neuroscience lab that conducted leading research in this field—explains the science of how and why we feel pain. He describes how the nervous system and brain process information that leads to the experience of pain, detailing the cellular and molecular functions that are responsible for the initial perceptions of an injury. He discusses how pharmacological agents such as opiates affect the duration and intensity of pain. Ambron examines new evidence showing that discrete circuits in the brain modulate the experience of pain in response to a placebo, fear, anxiety, belief, or other circumstances, as well as how pain can be relieved by activating these circuits using mindfulness training and other nonpharmacological treatments. The book also evaluates the prospects of procedures such as deep brain stimulation and optogenetics.

Current and thorough, The Brain and Pain will be invaluable for a range of people seeking to understand their options for treatment as well as students in neuroscience and medicine

Time will be allocated for Q&A.

Cosponsored by:
  • MIT Club of Washington DC

This program is part of the ColumbiaDC CUP series.


"The Brain and Pain is a comprehensive review of the fundamental principles of pain neurobiology and electrophysiology, with interesting viewpoints on pain psychology and philosophy." Carl Saab, Director of Pain Science, Technology And Research (STAR) Lab, Cleveland Clinic, Professor at Case Western Reserve University, adjunct Professor at Brown University


Richard Ambron is emeritus professor of pathology, anatomy, and cell biology at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, where he codirected the clinical anatomy course for first-year medical and dental students. For forty years, he directed a laboratory that investigated the molecular bases of nerve regeneration and the molecular pathways responsible for pain.


Frances Onyimba MD is a gastroenterologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center with a focus in esophageal diseases and GI motility disorders. She completed medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons prior to completing her internal medicine residency and a fellowship in GI motility and Neurogastroenterology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. She subsequently completed her general GI fellowship at University of California San Diego, where she served as a chief fellow. In 2019, she was selected into the Young Physician Leadership Scholars Program by the American College of Gastroenterology for leadership development and physician advocacy. Her interests include health communications and innovative programs and practices within healthcare.

CUP Series: This is a new initiative between ColumbiaDC and Columbia University Press to showcase acclaimed and pioneering work by renowned academics, scholars, and researchers published by the Columbia University Press.

April 13, 2022 at 6:30pm - 8pm


Washington, DC
United States

Miyako Yerick


Will you come?