University of Florida, Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence

Distinguished Professor & Director

Roger B. Fillingim, PhD uses standard psychophysical, or sensory testing, procedures to assess individual differences in responses to pain.

One major line of research in Dr. Fillingim’s laboratory focuses on how women and men experience pain differently. Women generally report more pain in daily life than men, and they also show lower pain thresholds. They are interested in understanding the reasons for these differences, which probably include psychosocial factors (e.g. mood, coping, sex roles) as well as physiological variables such as hormone levels and blood pressure. In addition, the team is studying whether pain-relieving medications work differently for women and men. Specifically, they would like to identify genetic markers that are associated with analgesic responses, and whether there are different genetic markers of medication response in women versus men.

His team are also investigating whether people from different ethnic and racial groups experience pain differently. Some evidence suggests that ethnic minorities may experience higher levels of pain and disability compared to whites. They are trying to determine whether ethnic differences in pain perception contribute to these differences in clinical pain. In this research, they are also exploring the contribution of sociocultural and psychological factors to ethnic differences in pain.