Robert B. Fillingim, PhD uses standard psychophysical, or sensory testing, procedures to assess individual differences in responses to pain.
One major line of research in Dr. Fillingim’s laboratory focuses on how women and men experience pain differently. Women generally report more pain in daily life than men, and they also show lower pain thresholds. They are interested in understanding the reasons for these differences, which probably include psychosocial factors (e.g. mood, coping, sex roles) as well as physiological variables such as hormone levels and blood pressure. In addition, the team is studying whether pain-relieving medications work differently for women and men. Specifically, they would like to identify genetic markers that are associated with analgesic responses, and whether there are different genetic markers of medication response in women versus men.
His team are also investigating whether people from different ethnic and racial groups experience pain differently. Some evidence suggests that ethnic minorities may experience higher levels of pain and disability compared to whites. They are trying to determine whether ethnic differences in pain perception contribute to these differences in clinical pain. In this research, they are also exploring the contribution of sociocultural and psychological factors to ethnic differences in pain.
Dr. Fillingim earned his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in pain research at the University of North Carolina. From 1996-2000 he was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and in 2000 he moved to the University of Florida as an Associate Professor in the College of Dentistry. Currently, Dr. Fillingim is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry and the Director of the University of Florida Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE).
2009 Wilbert E. Fordyce Clinical Investigator Award, The American Pain Society
- Robinson, M. E., Brown, J. L., George, S. Z., Edwards, P. S., Atchison, J. W., Hirsh, A. T., … & Fillingim, R. B. (2005). Multidimensional success criteria and expectations for treatment of chronic pain: the patient perspective. Pain Medicine, 6(5), 336-345.
- Green, C. R., Anderson, K. O., Baker, T. A., Campbell, L. C., Decker, S., Fillingim, R. B., … & Todd, K. H. (2003). The unequal burden of pain: confronting racial and ethnic disparities in pain. Pain medicine, 4(3), 277-294.
- Fillingim, R. B., Doleys, D. M., Edwards, R. R., & Lowery, D. (2003). Clinical characteristics of chronic back pain as a function of gender and oral opioid use. Spine, 28(2), 143-150.
- Fillingim, R. B., Maixner, W., Girdler, S. S., Light, K. C., Harris, M. B., Sheps, D. S., & Mason, G. A. (1997). Ischemic but not thermal pain sensitivity varies across the menstrual cycle. Psychosomatic Medicine, 59(5), 512-520.
- Fillingim, R. B., & Maixner, W. (1996). The influence of resting blood pressure and gender on pain responses. Psychosomatic Medicine, 58(4), 326-332.
- Edwards, R. R., & Fillingim, R. B. (1999). Ethnic differences in thermal pain responses. Psychosomatic medicine, 61(3), 346-354.
- Rahim-Williams, B., Riley III, J. L., Williams, A. K., & Fillingim, R. B. (2012). A quantitative review of ethnic group differences in experimental pain response: do biology, psychology, and culture matter?. Pain Medicine, 13(4), 522-540.
- Fillingim, R. B., & Edwards, R. R. (2005). Is self-reported childhood abuse history associated with pain perception among healthy young women and men?. The Clinical journal of pain, 21(5), 387-397.