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The Somatosensory and Pain Systems (SPS) Study Section reviews research applications on pain, analgesia and somatosensory systems in animals and humans. Approaches include, but are not limited to, molecular biology, genetics, anatomy, physiology, imaging and psychophysics. The emphasis is on approaches to understanding normal sensory function and sensory pathology due to injury or disease.

The List of Reviewers lists all present, whether standing members or temporary, to provide the full scope of expertise present on that date. Lists are posted 30 days before the meeting and are tentative, pending any last minute changes.

Review Dates

Membership Panel

The membership panel is a list of chartered members only.


  • Somatosensation: neurobiology of touch, vibrotactile and temperature sensation
  • Mediation and modulation of nociception analgesia; itch and antipruritics. Discovery of novel pharmacological targets and treatments for pain and itch.
  • Analysis of the critical circuitry, both spinal and supraspinal, important in pain sensation
  • Analgesics including opiates and non-opioids and other analgesics; mechanisms and clinical treatment approaches to tolerance and dependence on opioids and other drugs with abuse potential.
  • Endogenous pain modulatory systems (e.g., endogenous opiates and endocannabinoids)
  • Non-pharmacological approaches to pain treatment, including but not limited to, novel therapies, such as neurostimulation, and complementary and integrative approaches (e.g., behavioral interventions).
  • Interaction of pain and comorbid conditions, such as anxiety, depression, sleep and other contributory factors.
  • The role of the immune system and glia in pain.

Shared Interests and Overlaps

Applications, including clinical trials, related to behavioral and psychiatric phenotypes; biological and social risk factors for disease involving gene-environment interactions may be review by Behavioral Genetics and Epidemiology (BGES).

Applications involving human and/or clinical studies of pain that evaluate psychosocial factors, behavioral interventions and adjunct therapies, rehabilitation and patient outcomes may be reviewed by Behavioral Medicine, Interventions and Outcomes Study Section (BMIO) or Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress and Health (MESH).

Applications involving human and/or animal studies of psychopathology and treatment; substance abuse, drug tolerance and addiction may be reviewed by Biobehavioral Regulation, Learning and Ethology Study Section [BRLE]. Included also are studies of normal and abnormal behavioral development.

Applications implementing medicinal chemistry for preclinical research, drug screening and preclinical animal models, natural product development, and pharmacokinetic evaluation may be reviewed by Drug Discovery for the Nervous System Study Section [DDNS].

Applications related to the regulation of emotion and mood; influence of psychosocial factors in personality, affect and cognition; mechanisms of acute and chronic stress, and stress-reduction interventions may be reviewed by MESH or BMIO.

Applications related to genetic and epigenetic regulation of addiction and gene delivery methods may be reviewed by Molecular Neurogenetics (MNG).

Applications related to motivated behaviors, such as mediation of drug and other types of reward, mechanisms of tolerance, dependence, withdrawal and sensitization may be reviewed by Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior (NMB).

Applications related to cellular and molecular mechanisms of drugs of abuse, addiction, stress and mood disorders may be reviewed by Molecular Neuropharmacology and Signaling (MNPS).

Applications related to tissue and organ damage and repair due to, for example, surgery, trauma, burn, ischemia-reperfusion and oxidative injury may be reviewed by Surgery, Anesthesiology, and Trauma (SAT) .

Applications focused on spinal and supraspinal control of voluntary and autonomic motor function; vestibular system and proprioception studies; sensorimotor integration, such as extrapyramidal motor control are appropriately reviewed by Sensorimotor Integration Study Section (SMI) .