Sachell Calderon

Mentor: Dr. Joseph Riley
College of Dentistry
"One of the things that I was looking forward to coming to the University of Florida was the opportunity to partake in undergraduate research. As I started to look for a field or topic to research I learned about pain research. One of the things that I enjoy the most about researching pain is that I get to interact with different participants. Learning more about pain and the way we research it has been an experience that will carry on to my future career in dentistry."


Food Science and Human Nutrition



Research Interests

  • Pain Catastrophizing
  • Psychological Factors and Pain
  • Physiological Factors and Pain

Academic Awards

  • Presidential Service Award
  • College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Honors
  • UF Anderson Scholar
  • University Scholars Program 2015-2016


  • UF Pre-Dental ASDA
  • Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity
  • Honors Program


  • Youth Tooth of Pre-dental ASDA
  • Humane Society
  • Relay for Life

Hobbies and Interests

  • Baking/ Cooking
  • Exercise
  • Arts and crafts
  • Travel

Research Description

The Effect of Situational Pain Catastrophizing on Pain Inhibition and Facilitation
Pain sensitivity is constantly modulated by psychological and physiological factors that can lead to an increase in pain sensitivity referred to as facilitation or a decrease in pain sensitivity referred to as inhibition. Recently, Dr. Riley and colleagues have demonstrated variability in patterns of inhibition and facilitation of pain within a single prolonged trial. Pain catastrophizing is a negative cognitive/affective response to anticipated or actual pain and has been associated with levels of clinical pain and sensitivity to painful stimuli in a laboratory setting. This study will test the hypothesis that participants with higher levels of situational catastrophizing in response to the heat laboratory testing will be associated with greater facilitation of pain and reduced inhibition of pain compared to participants with lower levels of situational catastrophizing.