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Professor Bridget Lumb

Professor Bridget Lumb

Professor Bridget Lumb
B.Sc., Ph.D.(Birm.)

Professor of Systems Neuroscience

Area of research

Pain and Nociception

Office E11a
Biomedical Sciences Building,
University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TD
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 2313


The overall aim of work in this laboratory is to understand central nervous system mechanisms of nociception and pain. The focus is on the physiology, anatomy and neurochemistry of descending control systems that originate in the brainstem and that act to co-ordinate changes in motor, autonomic and sensory functions, including pain. These systems underlie the co-ordinated patterns of change in behaviour, nociceptive responsiveness and autonomic outflow that occur: (i) during fever, as part of a sickness response (ii) in different behavioural states, such as fear and anxiety, (iii) in certain pathophysiological conditions, such as stress related disorders and chronic pain.

A better understanding of the neural basis of pain will help develop new strategies for the treatment of chronic pain, such as that which accompanies arthritis.

Activities / Findings

  • That cyclooxygenase inhibitors (NSAIDs), the most widely used analgesic drugs in the world, have central sites of action in the midbrain in addition to their well documented effects in the peripheral nervous system
  • That descending control distinguishes between pain of different behavioural significance. This has important survival value as these controls operate in different behavioural states (such as fear, anxiety and recuperation) to coordinate active or passive coping strategies Read more >
  • That inescapable and escapable pain are represented in distinct CNS circuits, which provides the potential to trigger descending controls of different behavioural significance. Read more >


  • 2nd BVSc: lecture courses in 'Comparative Female Reproduction' and 'Endocrinology'
  • Level 3 BSc Neuroscience/Physiology: Seminars on Pain Element


  • Hypothalamus
  • periaqueductal grey
  • spinal cord
  • descending control
  • functional anatomy


  • Stress
  • anxiety
  • chronic pain

Processes and functions

  • Pain
  • stress
  • coping strategies


  • Electrophysiology
  • recording of cardiorespiratory variables
  • immunocytochemistry
  • tract tracing
  • light and fluorescence microscopy


Selected publications

Read more >

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • Prof Richard Apps - University of Bristol
  • Dr Lucy Donaldson - University of Bristol
  • Dr Jo Murrell - University of Bristol
  • Dr Tony Pickering - University of Bristol
  • Prof Steve Hunt - University College London

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