PhD Sara E Berger  PhD Sara E Berger photo         

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Research Staff Member; Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscientist; Pain Expert
Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY USA



My background is in systems and cognitive neuroscience with an emphasis in chronic pain conditions and psychology. In the past, I have focused on identifying, quantifying, and predicting changes in acute and chronic pain in animals and in humans, with a decade of experience in the pain field. Additionally, I have investigated the emotional and behavioral abnormalities that are exhibited in chronic pain patients, either as a consequence of long-term suffering or as an existing set of qualities that predetermine a patient's future pain experience or their likelihood of persisting or recovering from a condition.  My thesis work looked at the development and testing of multivariate models to predict placebo response in chronic pain as part of a clinical trial - these models included features from structural and functional neuroimaging, daily pain/mood self-report from an electronic application, personality and psychosocial questionnaire measures, and semantic language properties from an in-person interview.

At IBM, I am applying my knowledge of neuroimaging, psychology, and clinical research to address a wide variety of questions and applications.  I am currently working on developing and running protocols to test how speech changes in different emotional, sensory, and treatment-related contexts and how these changes correspond to objective measures of physiology, behavior, and self-report. The techniques and features identified from this research will be used to better understand, classify, and treat various clinical cohorts, including individuals with chronic pain conditions, neurodegenerative disorders, and psychiatric illnesses.