Meet The Team!
Loren Martin, Ph.D.
Dr. Martin is currently an Associate Professor in Psychology at UTM and Canada Research Chair in Translational Pain Research. Dr. Martin received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (Institute of Medical Science) in 2009 where he studied synaptic plasticity and memory mechanisms in the laboratory of Dr. Beverley Orser. He then expanded his knowledge by undertaking postdoctoral training in the pain genetics laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Mogil (McGill University). While at McGill University, he studied growth factor genes important for the development of chronic pain, as well as how the environment changes pain behaviour in mice and humans. Since starting his faculty position in 2015, he has published >30 papers, reviews, and chapters (20 as first/senior author, and 12 with my trainees as the first author). These include Journal of Clinical Investigation, Current Biology [x2], Neuropsychopharmacology , Pain , Scientific Reports (x2), and Molecular Brain. These publications broadly cover the development of novel behavioural measures and brain mechanisms pertaining to the 1) social modulation of pain and 2) learning mechanisms of pain. The lab also has publications in other domains such as pain genetics, but these are primarily collaborative efforts. Dr. Martin was the 2019 Canadian Pain Society Early Career Award recipient and has received funding for his work through the CIHR, NSERC, CFI, and the Canadian Pain Society.
"If I had my own late-night talk show, the first guest I'd have on is Kurt Cobain for 3 reasons:
Nirvana was such a crucial part of my formative years, sparking my own garage band (of which we played many Nirvana covers) and expanding my musical horizons by introducing me to bands such as the Meat Puppets, Pixies, Black Flag, and Dead Kennedys.
He was a trailblazer and way ahead of his time. He was outspoken on gay rights, homophobia, and sexism. He once said he wished he'd been gay, just to annoy homophobic people, and often wore dresses to protest against sexism.
He was flawed in many ways, but he used these flaws to drive creativity and inspire countless people."
Post Doctoral Fellow
Chulmin Cho, Ph.D.
Dr. Chulmin Cho earned a Bachelor of Science in Specialized Honours Biochemistry from York University in Toronto. Subsequently, he attended McGill University in Montreal for his Ph.D. in Neurology and Neurosurgery where his research focus was on the loss of synapses in Alzheimer’s Disease. After completing his Ph.D., he joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto as a postdoctoral researcher focusing on the placebo effect in chronic pain.
"If I had my own late-night talk show, my first guest would be Robin Williams."
Navdeep Lidhar, Ph.D.
Dr. Navdeep Lidhar completed her Honours Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto where her thesis focused on understanding how observational fear learning in the chilean rodent degu is related to social relationships and vocalization patterns. She then obtained her Master of Arts at the University of Toronto, where she studied the role of social relationships in rodent affiliative interactions and vocalizations. Following her MA, she completed her Ph.D. under Dr. Loren Martin's supervision where she studied the role of social context in modulating pain behaviour and its underlying neural mechanisms.
Hi, I'm Sandra. I earned a B.S. in Biology and a M.A. in STEM Education from the University of Texas at Austin, I worked at Stanford University as Life Science Research Professional from 2014 to 2017, then I earned a M.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto in 2018. Using a mouse model of socially enhanced pain I developed under supervisor Loren Martin, I study neural mechanisms of contextual pain facilitation. The social context is rich with information, including whether the danger is nearby. Interestingly, in both humans and rodents, behaviors indicating pain in others can enhance our own pain experience. Yet the brain regions and peptide signals that drive this phenomenon are unknown. Uncovering mechanisms behind contextually and socially enhanced pain will lead to a better understanding of factors that worsen the pain for some chronic pain patients, as well as deepen our knowledge of social aspects of the biopsychosocial model of pain.
"Look, I have too dark of humor to be given a talk show. But let's say someone wanted to tank their channel, I'd probably invite someone like diorama artist Lisa Wood or definitely Amy Sedaris. We'd have a good time."
Check out my Google Scholar page.
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Harashdeep joined the Martin lab in 2020 and received her M.A. from the University of Toronto (Psychology), where she studied the influence of various psychosocial factors on the phenomenon of pain synaesthesia. She is currently examining the cognitive load of empathy in humans.
"On the first episode of my late-night show, I would invite my dog. We have great conversation!"
M. Sc. Candidate
Emma completed her Honors Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology from the University of Alberta. During her undergrad, Emma worked at three different research labs where she focused on several aspects of chronic pain. She also interned as a Probation Officer with the Government of Alberta where she worked with perpetrators and survivors of domestic violence. Currently, Emma is pursuing her Master's in this lab and her research focuses on the interconnection between chronic pain and memory.
"If I had a late-night talk show, my first guest would be Donald Trump. I want answers."
Lab Manager & Research Professional
Simran is a Lab manager and research assistant currently in the lab working on a myriad of projects. She started working in the lab in 2019 and then did her undergraduate psychology thesis in the martin lab in 2021 titled "Somatosensory-thalamic connectivity in conditioned Analgesia". She graduated with an HB.Sc. with a double major in Psychology and Biology for health sciences. In 2022, she will be joining the lab as a master's student in the cells and systems biology department! Currently, Simran is working on many different projects pertaining to pain such as the underlying cell signaling mechanism and interaction of the protein ERBB4 and drug targets to inhibit its behaviour; trying to determine the underlying mechanisms of conditioned analgesia (placebo) in neuropathic pain, and helping out the other graduate students with their projects!
"If I had my own late-night talk show, the first person I would invite is Jimmy Fallon. I think our humor is really similar and I love making people laugh. Also, he's already done the host job, I'd like to learn his tips and tricks!"
Incoming Psychology Ph.D. Student
Crystal is a PhD Psychology candidate working in the lab. She obtained her BSc at the University of Toronto Mississauga where she completed her honor's undergraduate thesis project with Dr. Loren Martin. During that time, she examined the cost of empathy for pain on working memory capacity within a human population. This line of research shifted as she started her PhD work where she primarily examines the social modulation of pain through the use of mice modals. Specifically, she is assessing how social interaction with those in pain may change depending on the social relationship (i.e., siblings and strangers). Additionally, she looks at the neural pathways and receptors that may be linked with the behaviours observed.
"Considering that I am a small geek and used to live off of Disney channel as a kid, the guest that I would bring on my talk show would be Ashley Johnson!"
Incoming Undergraduate Psychology Thesis Student
Wanning is a fourth-year undergraduate student doing a double major in Psychology and Biology for Health Sciences. She is really interested in the underlying brain mechanism of animal behaviors and will be conducting her Honors Thesis supervised by Dr. Martin.
"If I had a late-night talk show, my first guest would be Taylor Swift because she is my childhood idol and an inspirational singer!"