Headache Physiology Lab

A new gene for migraine. 

csd map

Cortical spreading depression moves concentrically across the brain like a ripple in a pond. Image shows the trace of a CSD wave moving across sensory cortex. CSD is a mechanism of migraine, stroke, and brain injury.

Sensory maps after depression
Sharpening of sensory maps after cortical spreading depression.

The Headache Physiology Lab’s mission is to understand the mechanisms of migraine and post-traumatic headache. These related disorders are commonly understood as ‘only’ headaches, but they are much more, involving disruptions in all the senses, activation of stress responses, and for many patients – a transition to a chronic pain state.

On a scientific level, we approach migraine and post-traumatic headache as systems neuroscience problems. Our core hypothesis is that these disorders are manifestations of dysfunctional network plasticity.


We use a variety of techniques including:

  • Optical intrinsic signal imaging,
  • two-photon microscopy,
  • and electrophysiology.
  • We also perform focused physiological research on migraine patients.

Latest News

Nov 30, 2020

Study reveals unexpected protective role for brain swelling after injury


Following a brain-injuring bump or blow to the head, brain cells and blood vessels typically swell. This can lead to a potentially life-threatening increase in pressure inside the skull, and managing swelling is critical for patients with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). But researchers at University of Utah Health have discovered that swelling may also be important for protecting the brain.... Read More

Headache Lab

2 Photon Microscopy of CSD