Stroman lab logo

Stroman Lab: Functional MRI methods development, and pain research

Research in our lab is focused on developing functional MRI methods that can be applied at all levels of the central nervous system, including the brainstem and spinal cord. These methods include data acquisition, data analysis software, and statistical methods. The methods we have developed are used for studying human pain processing, and how it is altered in chronic pain conditions.

Dr. Patrick Stroman

MRI of a human brain, brainstem, and spinal cord in a sagittal (side) view
Example of functional MRI data quality in the brainstem and cord

About research in the Stroman Lab ...

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a powerful tool for neuroscience research, and can reveal information about neuronal function in the human body as a person performs a cognitive task, or does a small motor task, or feels a sensation or pain. However, the most widely used methods for fMRI provide poor quality data in the brainstem and spinal cord, because of the effects of the surrounding bone and air spaces on the MR images.

The focus of the Stroman Lab for over 25 years has been to adapt fMRI methods for use in the brainstem and spinal cord. Methods have been developed that provide high-quality fMRI data and corresponding software for data analysis that is adapted to these regions.

The resulting methods have been used to study spinal cord injury, and our current focus is on the study of human pain processing, and how it is altered by attention, emotion, expectation, etc., and also how it is altered in chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia. The information provided is able to show coordinated neural signaling between brainstem and spinal cord regions, and how neural responses to pain signals are regulated at the level of the spinal cord. 



Dr. P. Stroman "working" on a laptop, while in a kayak on a lake.

Dr. Patrick W. Stroman