Research Questions

The PiPA Group aims to answer the following questions:

  • What are the neuro-developmental changes that underlie the beginning of human pain perception – and how are these modulated by early life nociceptive/pain exposure?
  • Can FMRI be used to identify, in a longitudinal fashion, the cortical and subcortical structures activated by noxious stimulation in the developing human brain?
  • Does pain in early-life alter future responses to noxious stimuli and anaesthetic requirements?
  • Is morphine an effective analgesic for procedural pain in newborn infants?


PiPA Group Research Studies & Trials

The PiPA Group works on the following research studies:

The Nipi study (Newborn Infant Pain Investigations) started in 2012 at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. We use brain imaging techniques, including EEG and fMRI, to look at how babies respond to noxious procedures such as medically required blood tests. By comparing these responses with responses to other sensory stimuli, in babies of different ages, we are building a more complete understanding of how nociceptive processing develops.



The Pinch study (Pain Investigations & Neuroscience in Childhood) also started in 2012. We have been using EEG to examine brain activity responses to stimuli, including medically required cannulation, in children who are anaesthetised. By comparing EEG activity in children who were born premature with those born at term, we are investigating whether early life pain affects responses later in life.



The Poppi Trial (Procedural Pain in Premature Infants) will begin in 2016. This is a single centre randomised placebo-controlled trial investigating the efficacy of morphine analgesia for procedural pain in infants based at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. The trial is being carried out in collaboration with the National Perinatal and Epidemiology Unit (NEPU) based at the University of Oxford. For more information on the trial please see the website: