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BSMS > About BSMS > Contact us > Staff > Dr Ricardo Governo

Dr Ricardo Governo

Dr Ricardo Governo

Dr Ricardo Governo (PhD, BSc, BEng, FHEA)

Lecturer in Anatomy
T: +44 (0)1273 877693
Location: Medical Teaching Building, Rm 3.07c, BSMS, University of Sussex, BN1 9PX

Areas of expertise:Transmission and modulation of pain; functional magnetic resonance imaging
Research areas: Imaging of the brain; neuroscience


Dr Ricardo Governo read Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Bristol before discovering the lure of Science, leading to a second undergraduate degree in Human Anatomy at the University of Glasgow. A full-time sponsored studentship/demonstratorship at the University of Leeds followed, resulting in a PhD in neuroscience, where Ricardo investigated the role played by nucleoside transporters located in the dorsal spinal cord in modulating pain transmission, in addition to a contractual requirement of fulfilling over 500 hours of teaching.

Irrevocably attracted to the fascinating field of pain, Ricardo completed two successful post-doc positions, first at the University of Nottingham and then at the FMRIB Centre at the University of Oxford. Both posts involved the use of functional MRI to investigate how pain is perceived in the brain following dosing with opioids, antidepressants or antianxiolitics. In addition to his research Ricardo developed and implemented a novel device to deliver punctate noxious stimuli that could be safely operated in the MR environment.

Ricardo came to BSMS in 2008, employed as a lecturer to teach Anatomy to first and second year medical students. Since then he has become further integrated in the school teaching philosophy, taking on further administrative and teaching roles and was appointed module leader in 2013.


Ricardo has several publications in the field of pain, focused mostly on the use of functional MRI to assess pain processing. He retains a keen interest in pursuing this field and becoming established at BSMS as an active researcher, developing his own research group.

His current interest is to localise which higher centres in the brain mediate the affective-cognitive-evaluative component of pain and to assess possible functional connectivity that underlie the variation in pain experience felt by those suffering from chronic pain. He is also interested in determining why and how the emotive state has such an impact at alleviating the symptoms of chronic pain and what possible contribution individual susceptibility has in the ultimate experience from these conditions.


Ricardo’s main teaching role is leading anatomy for modules 104 (Nutrition, Metabolism and Excretion) and module 203 (Reproduction and Endocrinology). Other teaching duties include delivering a lecture for module 102 (Foundation of Health and Disease), leading dissection room practicals, living anatomy and ultrasound tutorials, student select components and academic skills tutorials. As a member of the Anatomy group Ricardo is also involved in training five resident medical officers who assist with the anatomy practicals, and leading some of the undergraduate external courses.

In addition to teaching, Ricardo’s other academic duties include being module leader for 104; membership to modules 102 and 203 exam boards; internal examiner for module 102; deputy chair for 103  (Heart, Lungs and Blood), 202 (Brain and Behaviour) and 404 (Independent Research Project). He is also a member or the year 1 phase board and academic tutor.

Ricardo is currently a fellow of the higher education authority.

Selected publications

Pattinson K, Governo R, MacIntosh B, Russell E, Corfield D, Tracey I et al. Opioids Depress Cortical Centers Responsible for the Volitional Control of Respiration. Journal of Neuroscience. 2009;29(25):8177-8186.

Mitsis G, Governo R, Rogers R, Pattinson K. The effect of remifentanil on respiratory variability, evaluated with dynamic modeling. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2009;106(4):1038-1049.

Jones K, Finn D, Governo R, Prior M, Morris P, Kendall D et al. Identification of discrete sites of action of chronic treatment with desipramine in a model of neuropathic pain. Neuropharmacology. 2009;56(2):405-413.

Governo R, Morris P, Marsden C, Chapman V. Gabapentin evoked changes in functional activity in nociceptive regions in the brain of the anaesthetized rat: an fMRI study. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2009;153(7):1558-1567.

Governo R, Prior M, Morris P, Marsden C, Chapman V. Validation of an automated punctate mechanical stimuli delivery system designed for fMRI studies in rodents. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2007;163(1):31-37.

Governo R, Morris P, William Prior M, Marsden C, Chapman V. Capsaicin-evoked brain activation and central sensitization in anaesthetised rats: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Pain. 2006;126(1):35-45.

Governo R, Deuchars J, Baldwin S, King A. Localization of the NBMPR-sensitive equilibrative nucleoside transporter, ENT1, in the rat dorsal root ganglion and lumbar spinal cord. Brain Research. 2005;1059(2):129-138.

Ackley M, Governo R, Cass C, Young J, Baldwin S, King A. Control of glutamatergic neurotransmission in the rat spinal dorsal horn by the nucleoside transporter ENT1. The Journal of Physiology. 2003;548(2):507-517.