UCL Division of Biosciences


Medawar Pain and Somatosensory Labs

The Medawar Labs are dedicated to the understanding of the neurobiology of pain and somatosensation in health and disease. Our work spans across: (i) the life cycle – from birth and childhood, to adolescence and adulthood; (ii) the nervous system – from the periphery to the spinal cord and brain; (iii) the translational pathway – from mouse to human; (iv) disciplines – from genetics to bioengineering; (v) scales – from single cells to whole systems and (vi) clinical questions – from preterm birth to arthritis and early life adversities.

We are a multidisciplinary group of human and basic neuroscientists, biologists, clinicians and bioengineers from the UCL Division of Biosciences. We all work on the ground floor of the UCL Medawar Building and are united by a shared interest in pain, somatosensation and anything in between. The “corridor” was originally established by Profs Maria Fitzgerald (NPP) and Steve Hunt (CDB) and more recently expanded to include Drs Lorenzo Fabrizi (NPP), Sandrine Géranton (CDB) and Stephanie Koch (NPP). Many worked along this corridor and many still work here or collaborate with us. 

Pain and somatosensation are complex constructs with sensory-discriminative and cognitive-affective components mediated and modulated at all levels of the nervous system. Physiologically, both pain and somatosensation more broadly have adaptive roles that allow us to interact with our environment, which is essential for normal brain development, healthy social interactions and the avoidance of harm. However, external or internal factors might affect their normal functioning ultimately resulting in adverse, sometime long-lasting, effects on wellbeing and quality of life as a whole. For this reason, our core interest is in understanding the neurobiology of pain and somatosensation, how they are affected by events like premature birth or early life adversities and how adverse events can be avoided or reversed. In recent years, building on this primary interest we also branched out in other related areas of research such as functional and anatomical brain development, sensorimotor integration.


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Sensory processing and brain development in humans

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Molecular approaches to the study of pain and related disorders: anxiety, depression and addiction

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Development of nociceptive circuits in rodents

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Adaptive plasticity in sensorimotor circuits



Antonia Constantinescu, Research Assistant

Lorenzo Fabrizi, Principal Research Fellow

Maria Fitzgerald, Professor of Developmental Neurobiology

Roxana Florea, PhD Student

Sandrine Geranton, Associate Professor

Sara Hestehave Kristensen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Steve Hunt, Professor of Molecular Neurobiology

Laura Jones, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Stephanie Koch, Senior Research Fellow

Neelum Mistry, Research Clinical Physiologist

Mohammed Rupawala, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Oakley Morgan, PhD Student  

Silvia Silva-Hucha, Postdoctoral Research Fellow




Affiliate Members


Resources and Infrastructures

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Brain imaging

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In the Media

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The importance of studying pain and ethical implications: Public Lecture: UCL Neuroscience Society, Wellcome Trust Interview, BBC Horizon Programme: The Secret World of Pain
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Combat chronic pain by targeting a stress related gene: The Scientist, Forbes, Versus Arthritis Fundraising Video or using 'botox', the Naked Scientists

Recent Publications