Markus Ploner. I am a Professor of Human Pain Research at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), a consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology of the TUM and head of the PainLabMunich. Before coming to Munich and founding the PainLabMunich, I studied Medicine in Cologne and Vienna, trained as a neurologist at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf and stayed as a research fellow at the University of Oxford. Motivated and inspired by my clinical experience, I aim to alleviate suffering from pain. To this end, I strive to understand how the brain translates threat into pain and what goes wrong in this translation process when patients experience ongoing pain without appropriate threat. I feel privileged to be able to do this kind of research and to work in a wonderful team.
Laura Tiemann. I am a member of the PainLabMunich since the very beginning. After graduating in Psychology at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, I started as a PhD candidate here in Munich, continued my work as PostDoc, and am still far from getting bored! Currently, I am investigating the brain mechanisms underlying the enormous variability of pain - e.g. why we experience the same painful event differently at different moments in time. I particularly enjoy EEG data analysis, making the results of our research accessible for others through posters, talks and figures, as well as interacting and laughing with the participants of our studies. Besides research, I am currently completing my training as behavioral therapist and perform neuropsychological evaluations.
Elisabeth S. May. I have been working as a PostDoc in the PainLabMunich since 2013. I studied psychology in Oldenburg and Düsseldorf and particularly enjoyed one year of studying abroad in Melbourne. I first got into the field of pain research and brain oscillations during my PhD at the University of Düsseldorf and am very happy to be able to continue and deepen this work here in Munich. My recent projects investigate the modulation of pain using transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) and apply advanced EEG data analyses to resting-state data of chronic pain patients. I especially enjoy analyzing data and discussing analyses and results with the team. With the goal to combine pain research and clinical work, I am additionally taking part in a training program as a behavioral psychotherapist.
Moritz M. Nickel. I have joined the PainLabMunich in 2013 as a PhD candidate. My interest for pain research developed during my diploma thesis in psychology at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, which addressed effects of attention on single-trial laser-evoked potentials. After finishing my PhD, I have continued working in the PainLabMunich as a PostDoc. I am still intrigued by the great impact of expectation on pain perception and currently studying the cortical interplay between pain-related sensory information and expectation. As pain emerges from activations of an extended network of brain areas, I am particularly interested in connectivity and brain network analysis using EEG.
Henrik Heitmann. I joined the PainLabMunich in 2010 for my doctoral thesis, where I investigated the influence of Dopamine on pain perception and processing. In 2014, I graduated in Medicine at TUM and started my clinical training in Neurology and Pain Medicine as well as my post-doctoral training at PainLabMunich. Working as a Clinician Scientist I am particularly interested in the mechansims of the development, the affective comorbidities and the multimodal therapy of chronic pain, especially in the context of chronic inflammatory CNS disease.
Son Ta Dinh. I joined the PainLabMunich in October 2015 as a bit of an exotic PhD candidate, considering my background in electrical engineering and information technology. But retrospectively, I could not have found a better lab for my PhD, in large part due to the great working atmosphere and extensive supervision. I investigated the role of neural oscillations and synchrony in chronic pain using many different analysis methods. These ranged from spectral decomposition, over network analyses using graph theory, to several machine learning algorithms such as support vector machines, and deep convolutional neural networks. In 2019, having finished my PhD I have started working in the startup Ciara, but feel honored to continue my relationship with the PainLabMunich as a partner and advisor.
Vanessa Hohn. I have joined the PainLabMunich in 2017 for my master's thesis and have continued working here as a PhD student since 2018. During my master studies in Cognitive Neuropsychology at the Free University Amsterdam I discovered my great interest in pain research. Paired with my expertise in the analysis of EEG data, this quickly led me to the conclusion that the PainLabMunich was the place to go! As part of my PhD project, I am now specializing on neuromodulation techniques such as transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) and neurofeedback and the question how we can use these to alleviate experimental and eventually chronic pain.
Cristina Gil Ávila. I became part of the PainLabMunich in 2019 as a research assistant and realized shortly after that it was a great place to conduct my master thesis. My background in Biomedical Engineering (Technical University of Madrid) and Neuroengineering (Technical University of Munich) provided me with the skills to perform complex analysis of EEG data and sparked my interest in neuroscience. My determination to apply my knowledge to a clinical problem directed me to the PainLabMunich. Since February 2020 I have continued here as a PhD student, motivated to find an EEG-biomarker of chronic pain. For this purpose, I am studying the dynamics of brain activity in chronic pain, e.g. by means of multiscale entropy, EEG microstate analysis as well as machine learning techniques.
Felix Bott. One of the mind's most mysterious functions, in my personal opinion, is the perception of pain. However, the current understanding of it is mostly based on observed correlations. Having an engineering background with an emphasis on mathematical modelling and probabilistic machine learning, I want to pursue a more causal approach. In particular, I believe that the Dynamic Causal Modelling method has the potential of providing valuable new insights in the field. The broad and sound neurophysiological knowledge of the other members of the PainLab as well as their openness to interdisciplinary exchange constitute excellent prerequisites for the development of meaningful models. I am therefore very happy to be part of the team as a PhD student since September 2020.
Juliet Karger. I am a medical student at Ludwig-Maximilians-University and have the great pleasure of supporting the team as a student research assistant. Having learnt about the human brain in medical school, I had the desire to further deepen my knowledge in this field of research. And what better way to do this than by looking at brain activity as it unfolds in real time through EEG? PainLabMunich presents me with the unique opportunity to learn about how the brain processes pain, whilst simultaneously acquiring skills in EEG data recording.