The Pain Studies Lab is a research group and physical research space funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT). It was founded and is directed by Distinguished Professor Dr. Diane Gromala, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Computational Technologies for Transforming Pain.

Our research group studies, invents, and designs technology systems for people who live with persistent pain, their pain physicians and healthcare professionals, their caregivers, and their social milieux. We engage people who live with chronic pain as partners in our patient-centred research and are proud to work hand-in-hand with Canada’s most prominent pain experts and non-profit organizations. Our industrial and clinical partners ensure that our rigorously tested work translates to real-world use in clinics and homes of patients.

Since we focus on the problems that people living in persistent pain face, we are agnostic when it comes to the kinds of technologies we invent and deploy. They include but are not limited to: immersive virtual reality (VR), immersive games, personal data capture and visualization, physiological sensing, wearable computing, and mobile technologies and systems.

The researchers and clinicians of the Pain Studies Lab have a strong research and publishing record, which ranges from ACM technology and design conferences and publications to those in health research. We primarily use qualitative methods — particularly biopsychosocial methods that health researchers who study the complexity of chronic pain engage — to investigate the physiological, social and cultural experiences and practices of people who live with pain.

Our research continues to gain recognition through numerous awards of innovation, and we were among the first entities that was recognized by Google’s Solve-for-X.