Goals of the training are to establish independence of though, further development of critical reading and thinking, further development of writing skills, and a strengthening and broadening of methodological skills. Development and enhancement in these areas prepare trainees for the transition to a faculty position.

Research training typically lasts for 2-3 years. Postdoctoral trainees are expected to become heavily involved in research project direction, both conceptually and technically. Trainees entering the program with more clinical experience, and less research experience will work with enhanced supervision and more frequent interaction with a research mentor.


Participants training in core faculty member laboratories gain experience in the analysis of spontaneous and evoked pain behaviors, as well as experience in the analysis of drug effects after different routes of central or peripheral administration. They also receive training in:

  • In vivo and/or in vitro electrophysiological recording techniques
  • Light or electron microscopic methodologies

Trainees working in clinical laboratories may work with healthy or clinical populations and may involve clinical trial interventions. These trainees learn a variety of pain assessment techniques that use a subjective pain rating, quantitative sensory testing, function, quality of life and psychosocial variables.

Postdoctoral trainees are encouraged to develop research projects which require collaboration amongst laboratories with common interests and serve in a liaison role, coordinating the project. Both ownership and direction of the project are the responsibility of the trainee who may seek guidance from two faculty preceptors.

As the research project develops, trainees must prepare an application for independent funding. Trainees present their proposal during a 'chalk talk' with faculty members to receive feedback and incorporate suggestions into their proposal.