Pain and Neuroinflammation Imaging Lab

Ava Axelrod

Clinical Research Coordinator

I graduated from Bates College with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and a minor in philosophy. While a senior at Bates, I was accepted into the Honors Thesis program and wrote a year long thesis on the influence of the emotional valence and arousal of images on a visual perception phenomenon called boundary extension. Last summer I worked at the Martinos Center with Dr. Jacob Hooker, collaborating on writing pieces that investigated the nature of neuroscience from a philosophical lens. From that work we published two pieces in ACS Chemical Neuroscience. One discussed the nature of “neurodiversity” and Autism Spectrum Disorder in terms of the tension between identity and medicalization. The other evaluated the neuroscience and history of the colloquially termed “psychedelic drugs” and the stigma surrounding entheogenic plants, plants with deep Indigenous associations. Overall, my interests lie at the intersection of neuroscience and philosophy, leading me to pain research that focuses on the neurobiological basis of chronic pain while maintaining my understanding of the subjectivity of pain experience. I am also very interested in finding effective non-opioid treatments of chronic pain. In the Loggia Lab, I am a Clinical Research Coordinator of the PET/MR imaging study looking at the effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) on chronic lower back pain. Aside from my academic and work interests, I am an avid skier, love the outdoors, and enjoy time with friends in the sun.