Pain and Cognition Neuroimaging Lab

Research Overview

We study how pain affects cognition and how cognition shapes pain perception. For example, we are interested in understanding how placebo and nocebo effects emerge, how sensory words are learned, how pain perception is modulated by social observation.

Understanding sensory perception can shed light on the neurobiology of complex cognitive processes. Unveiling the relationship between pain and cognition can be relevant for understanding not only chronic pain conditions but also psychiatric and neurological disorders, such as depression and stroke, ultimately informing diagnosis and treatment.


Dr. Natalia Egorova-Brumley presented at the Society for the Neurobiology of Language Conference. "White matter tracts underlying verbal fluency".  5 October, 2021.

Congratulations to Georgia Cotter (Honours student in 2020) whose paper has just been accepted for publication in International Journal of Stroke, 30 August, 2021.

Dr. Natalia Egorova-Brumley presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference. "Continued white matter fibre degeneration over 3 years after ischemic stroke".  26-30 July, 2021.

Welcome to Alexandra Konski as our new Research Assistant and thanks to  Mackenzie Murphy for her hard work this year, good luck with your studies.

New equipment addition to the lab - Medoc Algomed Computerised Pressure Algometer - thanks to the 2021 MDHS Large Equipment Grant Scheme award, 22/06/2021.

Dr. Natalia Egorova-Brumley presented at the 2021 International Association for the Study of Pain meeting. "Learning Pain Words",  11-12, 17-18 June 2021.

Dr. Natalia Egorova-Brumley received the 2021 Margot Prior Early Career Research Award in clinical science, 21/04/2021.

Dr. Natalia Egorova-Brumley presented at the 2021 Australian Pain Society meeting. "Learning Pain Words",  19-20 April 2021.

Dr. Natalia Egorova together with colleagues from the Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine Dr. Michelle Hall and Dr. Fiona Dobson received 2020 MDHS Mid-Career Seeding Ideas Grant to investigate the neurobiology of hip osteoarthritis and the effect of exercise on the brain.

Ayshin Rasi presented at the Australasian Human Development Association (AHDA) Online Conference. “From "Ouchie" to "Hurt": A Cross-Linguistic Examination of Children's Pain Words”, October 22nd 2020.

Dr. Natalia Egorova presented at the Expectation, Perception and Cognition 2020 online conference. “Learning Pain Words”, October 1st   2020.

Carmen Zheng gave a talk on “The neural correlates of comorbid pain and depression” at the APS event - CCN Postgraduate Research Symposium, September 8th 2020.


Experimental Pain Journal Club

Previous sessions:

Session 1: Pain & Sleep. Hosts: Dr. Natalia Egorova and Prof. Amy Jordan. 07/10/2020. We discussed the relationship between acute pain and sleep. We first talked about a paper on the effect of sleep fragmentation on pain sensitivity, followed by a discussion of possible novel interdisciplinary projects we can undertake at MSPS. 

Session 2: Pain & Music. Hosts: Dr. Natalia Egorova, Dr. Jeanette Tamplin, Prof. Kat McFerran. 04/11/2020. We discussed the relationship between pain and music. We first presented a review paper on how music relieves pain, and then had a general discussion of music effects on experimental, acute, and chronic pain, including efficacy of music therapy.

Session 3: Pain & Reward. Hosts: Dr. Natalia Egorova, A/Prof Stefan Bode. 09/12/2020. We discussed the relationship between pain and reward. We first presented a paper on how humans integrate the prospects of pain and reward during choice, and then had a general discussion of the effects of pain on reward and information seeking.

The pdf of all discussed papers can be found:

This series is supported by the ReWire ECR Award to Natalia Egorova.


  • Natalia Egorova Brumley

Current students and Staff

  • Alexandra Konski (Research Assistant)
  • Mazyar  Goodarz (Honours)
  • Carmen Zheng (Master's)
  • Sarah Van Drunen (Master's)
  • Xiaoyu Sun (Master's, co-supervised with A/Prof Stefan Bode)
  • Jamie Topcu (Student volunteer, co-supervised with Prof.  Amy Jordan)
  • Chen Liang (Student volunteer)
  • Kyla Fareeha (Student volunteer)
  • Ayshin Rasi (Student volunteer)

Past students and Staff

  • Sophia Hodgson (Honours)
  • Abigail Lim (Honours)
  • Ayshin Rasi (Honours)
  • Georgia Cotter (Honours)
  • Elie Gottlieb (PhD)
  • Mackenzie Murphy (Research Assistant)

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students, Masters by Research, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Researchers to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Publications


  • Brodtmann A., Werden E, Khlif M.S., Bird L., Egorova N., Veldsman M., Pardoe H., Jackson G., Bradshaw J., Cumming T., Darby D., Churilov L., and Donnan G. Increased brain atrophy over 3 years in stroke survivors is linked to early post-stroke cognitive impairment. Frontiers in Neurology (accepted). Pre-print available:
  • Liew, S.-L., Zavaliangos-Petropulu, A., Schweighofer, N., Jahanshad, N., Lang, C. E., Lohse, K. R., Banaj, N., Barisano, G., Baugh, L. A., Bhattacharya, A. K., Bigjahan, B., Borich, M. R., Boyd, L. A., Brodtmann, A., Buetefisch, C. M., Byblow, W. D., Cassidy, J. M., Ciullo, V., Conforto, A. B., Craddock, R. C., Dula, A. N., Egorova, N., Feng, W., Fercho, K. A., Gregory, C. M., Hanlon, C. A., Hayward, K. S., Holguin, J. A., Hordacre, B., Hwang, D. H., Kautz, S. A., Khlif, M. S., Kim, B., Kim, H., Kuceyeski, A., Lin, D., Liu, J., Lotze, M., MacIntosh, B. J., Margetis, J. L., Mohamed, F. B., Nordvik, J. E., Petoe, M. A., Piras, F., Raju, S., Ramos-Murguialday, A., Revill, K. P., Roberts, P., Robertson, A. D., Schambra, H. M., Seo, N. J., Shiroishi, M. S., Soekadar, S. R., Spalletta, G., Stinear, C. M., Suri, A., Tang, W. K., Thielman, G. T., Thijs, V. N., Vecchio, D., Wang, J., Ward, N. S., Westlye, L. T., Winstein, C. J., Wittenberg, G. F., Wong, K. A., Yu, C., Wolf, S. L., Cramer, S. C., & Thompson, P. M.  Non-lesioned subcortical brain volumes are associated with post-stroke sensorimotor behavior across 28 cohorts worldwide: An ENIGMA Stroke Recovery analysis. Brain Communications (accepted). Pre-print available:
  • Cotter G., Khlif, M.S., Bird L., Howard M.E., Brodtmann A., Egorova N. Post-stroke fatigue is linked to resting state posterior hypoactivity and prefrontal hyperactivity. International Journal of Stroke (Accepted). Pre-print available:
  • Dhollander, T., Clemente, A., Singh, M., Boonstra, F., Civier, O., Juan F. D. D., Egorova N., Enticott P., Fuelscher I., Gajamange S., Genc S., Gottlieb E., Hyde C., Imms P., Kelly C., Kirkovski M., Kolbe S., Liang X., Malhotra A., Mito R., Poudel G., Silk T.J., Vaughan D.N., Zanin J., Raffelt D., Caeyenberghs, K. Fixel-based Analysis of Diffusion MRI: Methods, Applications, Challenges and Opportunities. NeuroImage 241, 118417 (2021).
  • Siddiqi S.H., Schaper F., Horn A., Hsu J., Padmanabhan J.L., Brodtmann A., Cash R.F.H, Corbetta M., Choi K.S, Dougherty D.D., Egorova N., Fitzgerald P.B., George M.S., Gozzi S., Irmen F., Kuhn A., Johnson K.A., Naidech A.M., Pascual-Leone A., Phan T.G., Rouhl R.P.W., Taylor S.F., Voss J.L., Zalesky A., Grafman J.F., Mayberg H.S., Fox M.D. Convergent causal mapping of neuropsychiatric symptoms using brain stimulation and brain lesions. Nature Human Behaviour (Accepted).
  • Khlif M.S., Bird L. , Restrepo C., Khan W., Werden E., Egorova N., Brodtmann A. Hippocampal subfield volumes are associated with verbal memory following first-ever ischemic stroke. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring (Accepted).
  • Gottlieb E., Khlif M.S., Bird L., Werden E., Churchward T., Pase M.P., Egorova N., Howard M.E., Brodtmann A. Sleep architectural dysfunction and undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea after chronic ischemic stroke. Sleep Medicine (2021).


  • Veldsman M., Werden E., Egorova N., Khlif M.S., Brodtmann A. Microstructural degeneration underlies executive dysfunction after stroke. Scientific Reports (2020).
  • Gottlieb E., Churchward T., Werden E., Churilov L., Pase M., Egorova N., Howard M., Brodtmann A. Sleep-Wake Parameters Can Be Detected in Chronic Stroke Patients Using A Multi-Sensor Accelerometer: A Validation Study. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 17(2):167-175 (2020).
  • Brodtmann A., Khlif M.S., Egorova N., Veldsman M., Bird L., Werden E. Dynamic regional brain atrophy rates in the first year after ischemic stroke. Stroke (2020).
  • Egorova N., Dhollander T., Khlif M.S., Khan W., Werden E., Brodtmann A. Pervasive white matter fibre degeneration in ischaemic stroke. Stroke 51:1507–1513.
  • Khan W., Egorova N., Khlif M.S., Mito R., Dhollander T., Brodtmann A. Three-tissue compositional analysis reveals in-vivo microstructural heterogeneity of white matter hyperintensities following stroke. Neuroimage Apr 22:116869 .
  • Gottlieb E.Egorova N., Khlif M, Khan W., Werden E., Pase M., Howard M., Brodtmann A. Regional neurodegeneration correlates with sleep-wake dysfunction after stroke. Sleep, Mar 28. pii: zsaa054.
  • Egorova N., Benedetti F., Gollub R.L., Kong J. Between placebo and nocebo: response to control treatment is mediated by amygdala activity and connectivity. European Journal of Pain, 24:3, 580-592.


  • Egorova N., Liem F., Hachinski V., Brodtmann A. Predicted brain age after stroke. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, , 11:348.
  • Khlif MS., Werden E., Egorova N., Bocardi M.,Redolfi A., Bird L., Brodtmann A. Assessment of longitudinal hippocampal atrophy in the first year after ischemic stroke using automatic segmentation. Neuroimage: Clinical,  2019, 24:102008.
  • Padmanabhan J.L., Cooke D., Joutsa J., Siddiqi S.H., Ferguson M., Darby R.R., Soussand L., Horn A., Kim N.Y., Voss J.L., Naidech A.M., Brodtmann A., Egorova N., Gozzi S., Phan T.G., Corbetta M., Grafman J., Fox M.D. A human depression circuit derived from focal brain lesions. Biological Psychiatry, 2019, 86:10, 749-758.
  • Werden E., Khlif M.S., Bird L.J., Cumming T., Bradshaw J., Khan W., Pase M., Restrepo C., Veldsman M., Egorova N., Patel S.K., Gottlieb E., Brodtmann A. APOE e4 Carriers Show Delayed Recovery of Verbal Memory and Smaller Entorhinal Volume in the First Year After Ischemic Stroke. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2019, 71(1), 245-259.
  • Egorova N., Gottlieb E., Khlif M.S., Spratt N., Brodtmann A. Choroid plexus volume after stroke. International Journal of Stroke, 2019, 17:1747493019851277.
  • Khlif MS., Egorova N., Werden E., Redolfi A., Bocardi M., DeCarli CS., Fletcher E, Singh B., Li Q., Bird L., Brodtmann A. A comparison of automated segmentation and manual tracing in estimating hippocampal volume in ischemic stroke and healthy control participants. Neuroimage: Clinical, 2019, 21, 101581.
  • Tu Y., Park J., Ahlfors S.P., Khan S., Egorova N., Lang C., Cao J., Kong J. A neural mechanism of direct and observational conditioning for placebo and nocebo responses. Neuroimage, 2019, 184, 954-963.


  • Brodtmann A., Egorova N. The evaluation of pain in the aphasic patient. Neurology, 2018, 91:9, 377-378.
  • Egorova N., Cumming T., Shirbin C., Veldsman M., Werden E., Brodtmann A. Lower cognitive control network connectivity in stroke participants with depressive features. Translational Psychiatry, 2018, 7.
  • Hervais-Adelman A., Egorova N. , Golestani N. Beyond Bilingualism: multilingual experience correlates with caudate volume. Brain Structure and Function, 2018, 223:7, 3495–3502.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Director Natalia Egorova

Department / Centre

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Unit / Centre

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