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Targeting the brain in chronic pain: the role of cortical body representation

Dr Tasha Stanton

Pain is frustratingly complex. Some people who have terrible injuries report very little pain while others develop terrible pain following a very minor event. This suggests that pain is not related only to the degree of physical injury and as such, other processes must contribute to the experience of pain. A growing body of evidence suggests that people in pain often have an altered perception of their body part. For example, it may feel too big or too small than its actual size. Further, people in pain have disruptions in the evaluation of incoming information from that painful body part and from the space surrounding it.

ANSA 2015 Annual Conference | Neuroplasticity: reaching our potential
21-25 August 2015, Crown Plaza, Adelaide, South Australia
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Tasha Stanton
Tasha Stanton
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Dr Tasha Stanton

Tasha Stanton is a Senior Research Fellow working with the Body in Mind Research group both in Adelaide (University of South Australia) and in Sydney (Neuroscience Research Australia). She completed her PhD at the University of Sydney in 2010 and is currently a National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellow (2014-2018). She has received over $1.7m in competitive research funding to date, including a highly renowned Canadian Institute of Health Research Postdoctoral Training Fellowship (2011-2014).

Tasha completed her training as a clinical Physiotherapist in 2002 and after two years of clinical work, she returned to pursue her Master of Science in spinal biomechanics with Prof Greg Kawchuk at the University of Alberta, Canada, completing in 2007. She then received a highly competitive PhD recruitment scholarship – the University of Sydney International Research Scholarship – and relocated overseas to complete her PhD, studying low back pain and clinical prediction, with Prof Chris Maher, Prof Jane Latimer, and Associate Prof Mark Hancock at the University of Sydney/The George Institute for Global Health. Tasha has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and has been a keynote or invited speaker at 22 national/international conferences. She has been fortunate enough to win some posh awards: In 2016, she won the Ronald Dubner Research Prize from the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), the most prestigious trainee award that recognizes the best series of papers in pain, including all research areas. She also won the Inaugural Rising Star Award from the Australia Pain Society.

In 2015, she was named the South Australia Young Tall Poppy of the Year (Australian Institute for Policy and Science), an award that recognises excellence in science and its communication. She also received the Best New Investigator Award at the National Australian Physiotherapy Association Congress in 2015. Her research focuses on clinical pain neuroscience and she is specifically interested in cortical body representation, multisensory integration, multimodal illusion, somatosensation, and pain. She is a Commissioning Editor for the Body in Mind Research Blog and is a founding member and editor for the International Collaboration of Early Career Researchers (theICECReam). If you have any idea for a blog post, please contact her. She is currently looking for Honour’s and PhD students.

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