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From the Minds of Babes: New frontiers in paediatric pain

Medical professionals used to believe that babies simply don’t feel pain. Building on critical work started in Oxford in the 1980s that proved them wrong, Dr Rebeccah Slater is developing new ways to see inside the minds of newborns.

Rebeccah Slater

BSc Imp Lond, MSc PhD UCL, ARSM

Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow

She studied Physics (BSc) at Imperial College and Neuroscience (MSc) at University College London, and in 2007 was awarded a PhD for her work investigating the development of pain processing in the human infant brain.

Dr Slater published the first observations that the newborn infant brain is functionally activated by noxious stimulation and went on to characterise these responses so they could be used to test the efficacy of analgesics in newborn infants.

She has published numerous research articles about infant pain in journals such as The Lancet and PLoS Medicine. Dr Slater has been passionately involved in communicating science to the public. She regularly speaks to journalists about her work and has taken part in numerous scientific discussions on TV and radio, including BBC Radio 4, The BBC World Service and Horizon.

Dr Slater, an Affiliate Member of the London Pain Consortium, continues her research at the Oxford Functional Imaging Centre (FMRIB) and at University College London to improve our understanding of the measurement and treatment of infant pain.

Recent publications

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