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.
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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.
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.
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.
Paul Theo Zebhauser. I have joined the PainLabMunich in 2021 after starting my clinical training as a Neurology resident in 2020. I studied Psychology and Medicine at Ludwig-Maximilian University and TUM. During my studies and clinical work, I have become fascinated by the intersections of Psychology and Medicine - and I think the multidimensional mediation and experience of pain is a prime exemplification of this. I am particularly interested in applying EEG and brain stimulation to clinical populations in Neurology and Neuropsychiatry, both areas in which the experience of pain frequently presents as a debilitating symptom for patients. Aside from that, I am also very interested in Cognitive Neurology, Neuropsychology and the field of Neurodegeneration and Dementia.
Katharina Bauermeister. I joined the PainLabMunich in 2021 during the start of my clinical training in Neurology intending to elucidate many questions that come out of my clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain. Is the experience of pain exclusively a result of the activity of peripheral pain generators like myofascial trigger points, inflammation or other processes, or is it solely a central process or both? Which form of experimental pain is a viable model for clinical pain helping to find effective causal therapies free of side effects? What are the central mechanisms that treatment modalities are based on to reduce pain?
Özgün Turgut. I am a PhD student at the PainLabMunich and the Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Informatics in Medicine (Daniel Rückert) at the TUM. Before joining the PainLab in 2022, I graduated with a master's degree in Electrical Engineering & Information Technology from TUM in 2021. During my master's program, I worked on various projects in the fields of biomedical engineering and artificial intelligence. My current research interests focus on the study of correlates of pain and electroencephalography (EEG) signals using deep learning methods.
Clara Fritzen. I am happy to have joined PainLab in 2021 as a student research assistant. Currently, I am studying medicine at the TU Munich, whilst constantly observing one common issue which burdens a lot of patients: the issue of pain. Therefore I am highly motivated to support this great team, who works on different aspects of pain in order to better understand the various mechanisms behind it. After a short internship in a neurofeedback practice, it is a pleasure to once again exploit the possibilities of the EEG, this time focusing on collecting and analyzing data.
Jorge Estudillo. I joined the PainLabMunich to work on my master thesis, during my studies in Neuroengineering at the Technical University of Munich. My main motivation is to understand whole-brain activity under neuropsychiatric conditions, and their intrinsic differences when compared to healthy subjects, based on EEG biomarkers and functional connectivity patterns, resulting in different "brain maps". I intend to adaptively modulate these maps using transcranial stimulation, with the hope of alleviating symptoms. Working at the PainLab, I commence this endeavor for knowledge generation with chronic pain and depression, leading causes of disability worldwide, that may also serve as a proof-of-concept for other conditions.
Nicoló Bruna. As a master's student in Neuroengineering, I am thrilled to be joining PainLabMunich for my thesis project, which will delve into the fascinating areas of brain modulation and sensory entrainment. With my engineering background, I am well-equipped to investigate the brain from both technical and theoretical perspectives. What intrigues me the most about the brain is its ability to connect us to the world in myriad ways, and I am particularly captivated by the complex mechanisms that underlie pain perception.
Martinah Randrianarimanana. Being fascinated with human anatomy and the brain, I was excited when I came across the opportunity to join the PainLabMunich as a Student Research Assistant. I explored various professions in my starting years here in Germany. I worked as an au-pair, an educator in Kindergarten, and finally decided to pursue my studies at the Technical University of Munich. Currently, I am pursuing my Bachelors in Electrical and Computer Engineering and plan to specialize in Medical Electronics. I am particularly drawn towards EEG and I look forward to learning the countless possibilities in clinical studies as well as to understanding brain mechanisms of processing in health and disease.