Dr. Joe Kossowsky's research revolves around the evaluation of progression of acute and chronic pain and comorbid psychiatric conditions, including the benefits of interventions (i.e., medications, multi-modal pain interventions, invasive procedures). There are three core areas:

  1. Network meta-analyses of existing intervention studies
  2. Development and implementation of a comprehensive and dynamic framework for assessing pain, functional, emotional and behavioral outcomes using clinical questionnaires and surveys, electronic health records, digital phenotyping and wearables
  3. Bioinformatic approaches focused on mapping associations between behavioral and clinical phenotypes with genotypes and genetic variants


Joe Kossowsky PhD, MMSc. is a clinical investigator in the Division of Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Following his graduate studies in Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience, Dr. Kossowsky obtained his PhD in Psychology at the University of Basel, Switzerland and a Master's degree in Biomedical Informatics from Harvard Medical School. He completed postdoctoral fellowships in the areas of pediatric pain, placebo research and biomedical informatics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School.

Researcher Services

Researcher Areas

  • Pediatric Pain
  • Digital Phenotype
  • Mental Health

Research Departments

Research Divisions

Researcher Labs


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. Song W, Torous J, Kossowsky J, Chen CY, Huang H, Wright A. Genome-wide association analysis of insomnia using data from Partners Biobank. Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 24; 10(1):6928. View abstract
  2. Czerniak E, Oberlander TF, Weimer K, Kossowsky J, Enck P. "Placebo by Proxy" and "Nocebo by Proxy" in Children: A Review of Parents' Role in Treatment Outcomes. Front Psychiatry. 2020; 11:169. View abstract
  3. Frey Nascimento A, Gaab J, Kirsch I, Kossowsky J, Meyer A, Locher C. Open-label placebo treatment of women with premenstrual syndrome: study protocol of a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open. 2020 Feb 17; 10(2):e032868. View abstract
  4. Locher C, Kossowsky J, Koechlin H, Lam TL, Barthel J, Berde CB, Gaab J, Schwarzer G, Linde K, Meissner K. Efficacy, Safety, and Acceptability of Pharmacologic Treatments for Pediatric Migraine Prophylaxis: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2020 Feb 10. View abstract
  5. Gaab J, Kossowsky J, Ehlert U, Locher C. Effects and Components of Placebos with a Psychological Treatment Rationale - Three Randomized-Controlled Studies. Sci Rep. 2019 02 05; 9(1):1421. View abstract
  6. Blease C, Bernstein MH, Gaab J, Kaptchuk TJ, Kossowsky J, Mandl KD, Davis RB, DesRoches CM. Computerization and the future of primary care: A survey of general practitioners in the UK. PLoS One. 2018; 13(12):e0207418. View abstract
  7. Locher C, Frey Nascimento A, Kossowsky J, Meyer A, Gaab J. Open-label placebo response - Does optimism matter? A secondary-analysis of a randomized controlled trial. J Psychosom Res. 2019 01; 116:25-30. View abstract
  8. Koechlin H, Donado C, Berde CB, Kossowsky J. Effects of Childhood Life Events on Adjustment Problems in Adolescence: A Longitudinal Study. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2018 Oct/Nov; 39(8):629-641. View abstract
  9. Koechlin H, Kossowsky J, Gaab J, Locher C. How to address the placebo response in the prescription SSRIs and SNRIs in children and adolescents. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2018 Jun; 17(6):537-540. View abstract
  10. Coakley R, Wihak T, Kossowsky J, Iversen C, Donado C. The Comfort Ability Pain Management Workshop: A Preliminary, Nonrandomized Investigation of a Brief, Cognitive, Biobehavioral, and Parent Training Intervention for Pediatric Chronic Pain. J Pediatr Psychol. 2018 04 01; 43(3):252-265. View abstract
  11. Koechlin H, Coakley R, Schechter N, Werner C, Kossowsky J. The role of emotion regulation in chronic pain: A systematic literature review. J Psychosom Res. 2018 04; 107:38-45. View abstract
  12. Locher C, Frey Nascimento A, Kirsch I, Kossowsky J, Meyer A, Gaab J. Is the rationale more important than deception? A randomized controlled trial of open-label placebo analgesia. Pain. 2017 Dec; 158(12):2320-2328. View abstract
  13. Locher C, Koechlin H, Zion SR, Werner C, Pine DS, Kirsch I, Kessler RC, Kossowsky J. Efficacy and Safety of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, and Placebo for Common Psychiatric Disorders Among Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. 2017 10 01; 74(10):1011-1020. View abstract
  14. Birkhäuer J, Gaab J, Kossowsky J, Hasler S, Krummenacher P, Werner C, Gerger H. Trust in the health care professional and health outcome: A meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2017; 12(2):e0170988. View abstract
  15. Faria V, Kossowsky J, Petkov MP, Kaptchuk TJ, Kirsch I, Lebel A, Borsook D. Parental Attitudes About Placebo Use in Children. J Pediatr. 2017 02; 181:272-278.e10. View abstract
  16. Ooi YP, Weng SJ, Kossowsky J, Gerger H, Sung M. Oxytocin and Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2017 Jan; 50(1):5-13. View abstract
  17. Hall KT, Kossowsky J, Oberlander TF, Kaptchuk TJ, Saul JP, Wyller VB, Fagermoen E, Sulheim D, Gjerstad J, Winger A, Mukamal KJ. Genetic variation in catechol-O-methyltransferase modifies effects of clonidine treatment in chronic fatigue syndrome. Pharmacogenomics J. 2016 Oct; 16(5):454-60. View abstract
  18. Prätzlich M, Kossowsky J, Gaab J, Krummenacher P. Impact of short-term meditation and expectation on executive brain functions. Behav Brain Res. 2016 Jan 15; 297:268-76. View abstract
  19. Kossowsky J, Kaptchuk TJ. Placebo effects in infants, toddlers, and parents. JAMA Pediatr. 2015 May; 169(5):505. View abstract
  20. Locher C, Kossowsky J, Gaab J, Kirsch I, Bain P, Krummenacher P. Moderation of antidepressant and placebo outcomes by baseline severity in late-life depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Affect Disord. 2015 Aug 01; 181:50-60. View abstract
  21. Kossowsky J, Donado C, Berde CB. Immediate rescue designs in pediatric analgesic trials: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Anesthesiology. 2015 Jan; 122(1):150-171. View abstract
  22. Krummenacher P, Kossowsky J, Schwarz C, Brugger P, Kelley JM, Meyer A, Gaab J. Expectancy-induced placebo analgesia in children and the role of magical thinking. J Pain. 2014 Dec; 15(12):1282-93. View abstract
  23. Simmons K, Ortiz R, Kossowsky J, Krummenacher P, Grillon C, Pine D, Colloca L. Pain and placebo in pediatrics: a comprehensive review of laboratory and clinical findings. Pain. 2014 Nov; 155(11):2229-2235. View abstract
  24. Kelley JM, Kraft-Todd G, Schapira L, Kossowsky J, Riess H. The influence of the patient-clinician relationship on healthcare outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One. 2014; 9(4):e94207. View abstract
  25. Kossowsky J, Wilhelm FH, Schneider S. Responses to voluntary hyperventilation in children with separation anxiety disorder: implications for the link to panic disorder. J Anxiety Disord. 2013 Oct; 27(7):627-34. View abstract
  26. Kossowsky J, Pfaltz MC, Schneider S, Taeymans J, Locher C, Gaab J. The separation anxiety hypothesis of panic disorder revisited: a meta-analysis. Am J Psychiatry. 2013 Jul; 170(7):768-81. View abstract
  27. Cavelti M, Contin G, Beck EM, Kvrgic S, Kossowsky J, Stieglitz RD, Vauth R. Validation of the Illness Perception Questionnaire for Schizophrenia in a German-speaking sample of outpatients with chronic schizophrenia. Psychopathology. 2012; 45(4):259-69. View abstract
  28. Cavelti M, Beck EM, Kvrgic S, Kossowsky J, Vauth R. The role of subjective illness beliefs and attitude toward recovery within the relationship of insight and depressive symptoms among people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. J Clin Psychol. 2012 Apr; 68(4):462-76. View abstract
  29. Cavelti M, Kvrgic S, Beck EM, Kossowsky J, Vauth R. Assessing recovery from schizophrenia as an individual process. A review of self-report instruments. Eur Psychiatry. 2012 Jan; 27(1):19-32. View abstract
  30. Kossowsky J, Wilhelm FH, Roth WT, Schneider S. Separation anxiety disorder in children: disorder-specific responses to experimental separation from the mother. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2012 Feb; 53(2):178-87. View abstract
  31. Kvrgic S, Beck EM, Cavelti M, Kossowsky J, Stieglitz RD, Vauth R. Focusing on the adult attachment style in schizophrenia in community mental health centres: validation of the Psychosis Attachment Measure (PAM) in a German-speaking sample. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2012 Jul; 58(4):362-73. View abstract
  32. Beck EM, Cavelti M, Wirtz M, Kossowsky J, Vauth R. How do socio-demographic and clinical factors interact with adherence attitude profiles in schizophrenia? A cluster-analytical approach. Psychiatry Res. 2011 May 15; 187(1-2):55-61. View abstract
  33. Brand S, Wilhelm FH, Kossowsky J, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Schneider S. Children suffering from separation anxiety disorder (SAD) show increased HPA axis activity compared to healthy controls. J Psychiatr Res. 2011 Apr; 45(4):452-9. View abstract
  34. In-Albon T, Kossowsky J, Schneider S. Vigilance and avoidance of threat in the eye movements of children with separation anxiety disorder. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2010 Feb; 38(2):225-35. View abstract