PSL1047H - Advanced Topics: Somatosensory & Pain Neuroscience

Course Coordinator:

M. W. Salter


The course provides a wide coverage of all aspects of the somatosensory system and deals with psychophysical studies, general somatosensory theories, receptors and primary afferents, and anatomical and electrophysiological aspects of central structures. Within this context there will be a heavy emphasis on pain.  Recent topics of interest will be discussed. The course will consist of a preliminary series of lectures to provide background material and an overview of the field, which will then be followed by presentations, discussion and debate on various classical and recent seminal research articles. These papers will be chosen so as to cover most of the major topics.

During this first part of the course students are expected to learn the basics of the somatosensory system and pain from readings in textbooks, assigned papers, lectures and classroom discussions.


The first weeks of the course will consist of review lectures given by the 4 course instructors. Students should read any assigned background materials prior to class.

“Take home” test
After the initial lectures by the instructors, the students will complete a take home test on fundamental/core concepts in pain and nociception. 

Presentation of assigned papers
Primary presenter
There will be two presentations per session that are given orally and supported by concise slides; each presentation should be a maximum of 25 minutes.  Each student will be assigned two papers to present in this manner during the course.
The oral presentation should provide an expanded introduction and a context to the paper, summarize the methods and results, and describe the main points presented in the paper’s discussion section. Additionally, within one week of the presentation, students are required to prepare a report that summarizes the article reviewed and provides a critical evaluation. 

For each paper one student will be assigned to lead the discussion, presenting the main strengths and weaknesses of the article and reporting on the significance of the paper (maximum of 10 minutes).  The discussant and presenter may coordinate their presentations so as to maximize the learning experience for the class on the topic and field of the paper.


Course in neuroscience, preferably systems neuroscience.


Dr. Robert Bonin
Dr. Karen Davis
Dr. Massieh Moayedi
Dr. Michael Salter


Take home test              10%
Presentations                17.5% (x 2)
Follow-up reports          10% (x 2)
As discussant                12.5% (x 2)
General participation     10%

Last Updated: 3-Nov-2022