Professor Frank Birklein does basic and pathophysiologically oriented clinical research on the field of pain and of the autonomic nervous system. His research spans from posttraumatic inflammation models to CRPS, from pain processing of experimental pain to processing of chronic pain patients using functional imaging. He and his group published a lot of research papers on several aspects of CRPS pathophysiology, he was the coordinating author of the sole national guideline for CRPS diagnosis and treatment in Germany.
He is now an Associate Professor for Neurology at the University Medical Centre, Mainz, Germany. He works as a clinician in the field of Neurology and Pain care, and as a scientist in the field of pain research. In 2000 and 2004, he and his group were awarded with the two most prestigious German scientific prices on the field of pain research. He is vice president of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Pain Therapy and Field Editor for the European Journal of Pain.
His research changed the thinking about CRPS. When he started in 1996, the most popular believes were that CRPS symptoms are exclusively caused by a pathological interaction of sympathetic and nociceptive nervous system and could therefore only be treated by sympathetic blocks. His work profoundly changed the thinking. We now know that the first steps in CRPS development include the exaggeration of posttraumatic inflammation – cytokine upregulation and neuropeptide turnover. Later steps include reorganization of sensory and motor processing in the brain. This knowledge made treatment easier and more effective.
Dr David Butler is an internationally renowned clinical educator and pain scientist and Director of the Neuro Orthopaedic Institute
David is also the author of 3 books and numerous book chapters including Explain Pain with Lorimer Moseley. He has developed and implemented pain science curricula for undergraduate and post-graduate programs and has taught over five thousand clinicians in 25 countries. He is a regular keynote speaker at clinical conferences across the world and covers concepts of clinical reasoning, physical health of the nervous system and pain sciences.
In 2001 Alberto gained a scholarship to undertake a doctorate at university of Milan. Two years of his 4 year PhD program were spent at Oxford University as a visiting student. After the completion of his PhD in 2005, he worked for 2 years in the Department of Experimental Psychology of Oxford University on crossmodal integration. While working in Oxford he also obtained a Junior Research Fellowship from Wolfson College.
In 2007 Alberto returned to Italy where he was appointed as a researcher and lecturer in the Department of Psychology of University of Milano-Bicocca. His work investigates multisensory integration, synaesthesia, body representation, spatial attention and spatial information processing in both neurologically normal participants and patients affected by neurological and neuropsychological disorders. His work underpins the very first neurocognitive model of tactile awareness.
Since 2005, he has written two book chapters, 35 articles and more than 30 conference abstracts. He has been invited as speaker at a number of international conferences and his work has been the focus of popular media articles in different countries. He has published in general science (eg Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) and leading journals in his field (eg Experimental Brain Research, Pain, Journal of Neuropsychology, Consciousness and Cognition, Brain Research, Neuroscience Letters, Perception, Psychological Bulletin, Perception & Psychophysics, Neuroscience and Biobehavioural reviews, Acta Psychologica).
Giandomenico Iannetti, MD, PhD, is a neuroscientist leading a research group based at University College London, United Kingdom. His research topic is the physiology of sensory systems in humans, and in particular nociception and pain. He has a longstanding interest in understanding the functional significance of the different responses elicited by sudden and intense stimuli in the human brain.
Giandomenico’s research group is truly multidisciplinary, and combines psychophysics and a range of laboratory techniques (spanning from electromyography to functional MRI) to provide a readout of the function of the human nervous system at different levels.
After a PhD at “La Sapienza” University of Rome (2003) and a post-doc at the University of Oxford (2003-2006), Giandomenico was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2006. In 2009 he moved his research group to University College London, where he is Reader in Human Neuroscience. He has been recently selected as the 2012 recipient of the Patrick D. Wall Young Investigator Award from the International Association for the Study of Pain. His research team is part of the GAMFI collaboration.
Martin was born in Munich, was soon sure to follow Konrad Lorenz’ traces of imprinting and wanted to become a behavioral scientist. Unfortunately, behavioral sciences became uncool when he started to study biology – all the research energy was concentrated on genes and membranes in the early 80’s.
Martin switched to medicine and got in touch with Ernst Pöppel´s department of Medical Psychology at the University of Munich. Pöppel’s group was doing fascinating work on brain and time and Martin was a continuously contributing guest and student in the lab and started his work on changes in sensory capabilities working night and day in 1987. He had not finished his MD when he started his clinical work in the pain ambulance of the LMU University Hospital in Munich where he tried unhappily to be both doctor and scientist.
Martin was lucky enough to contribute to the opening of a very enthusiastic Neurological Rehabilitation hospital in 1994 in cooperation with the LMU University of Munich. He did his psychiatric year necessary for his neurological specialization and read a job announcement for a postdoc in functional imaging at the University of Tuebingen, who were the first to introduce this method in Germany in the 90’s. The work was all about brain plasticity, one part was the investigation of amputees together with Herta Flor and Niels Birbaumer and the other was about predictive fMRI-findings for the outcome in traumatic brain injury. These early works and the functional imaging method and brain plasticity has fascinated him ever since. Additionally, he had the chance to work with transcranial magnetic stimulation in the lab of Leonardo Cohen at the NIH in Bethesda.
In 2006, after 10 years of research work in Tuebingen, Martin had the chance to build up his own functional imaging group at the University of Greifswald in the Northeast of Germany where he is working right now on the topics brain plasticity after training and during the experience of pathology- such as neuropathic pain. He is a terrific collaborator and an unexampled host – particularly if you want to ride home in the dark on a narrow canalside laneway!
Assistant Professor Han Marinus has degrees in physiotherapy and human movement science, and is registered as an epidemiologist. His PhD thesis (‘Clinimetrics in Parkinson’s disease’) involved the development and testing of measurement instruments in Parkinson’s disease. Han currently works as an assistant professor at the Department of Neurology of the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands, where he conducts and supervises clinical research, mainly in the field of Parkinson’s disease and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). His main interests involve the development and testing of health status instruments, and the use of these instruments to examine the determinants of present health states and the predictors of future health states. He has developed several measurement instruments in the field of Parkinson’s disease, such as the SCOPA-COG (cognition), SPES/SCOPA (motor examination), SCOPA-SLEEP (nighttime sleep problems and daytime sleepiness) and SCOPA-PS (psychosocial consequences). Besides psychometrics, he is interested in the effects of pain on motor control and motor performance.
As well as writing for Body in Mind, Dr Neil O’Connell, (PhD, not MD) is a researcher in the Centre for Research in Rehabilitation, Brunel University, West London, UK. He divides his time between research and training new physiotherapists and previously worked extensively as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist.
He also tweets! @NeilOConnell
Neil’s main research interests are chronic low back pain and chronic pain more broadly with a focus on evidence based practice. He has conducted numerous systematic reviews including some for the Cochrane Collaboration. He also makes a mean Yorkshire pudding despite being a child of Essex.
Link to Neil’s published research here. Downloadable PDFs here.
Professor Charles Spence is the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory based at the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University.
He is interested in how people perceive the world around them. In particular, how our brains manage to process the information from each of our different senses (such as smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch) to form the extraordinarily rich multisensory experiences that fill our daily lives. His research focuses on how a better understanding of the human mind will lead to the better design of multisensory foods, products, interfaces, and environments in the future. His research calls for a radical new way of examining and understanding the senses that has major implications for the way in which we design everything from household products to mobile phones, and from the food we eat to the places in which we work and live.
Over the years, Charles has consulted for a number of multinational companies advising on various aspects of multisensory design, packaging, and branding. He has also conducted research on human-computer interaction issues on the Crew Work Station on the European Space Shuttle. Charles and his group are currently working on problems associated with the design of foods that maximally stimulate the senses (together with Heston Blumenthal, chef of The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray). His group also has a very active line of research on the design of auditory, tactile, and multisensory warning signals for drivers and other interface operators (together with Toyota). Charles is also interested in the effect of the indoor environment on mood, well-being, and performance (together with ICI).
Charles has published more than 300 articles in top-flight scientific journals over the last 15 years. Charles has been awarded the 10th Experimental Psychology Society Prize, the British Psychology Society: Cognitive Section Award, the Paul Bertelson Award, recognizing him as the young European Cognitive Psychologist of the Year, and, most recently, the prestigious Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany, not to mention the 2008 IG Nobel prize for nutrition, for his groundbreaking work on the ‘sonic crisp’!
Dr Mick Thacker is widely regarded as the words nicest clever person. He started his PhD under the veritable godfather of pain science Professor Patrick Wall and has continued to forge a path towards a better understanding of the role of the immune system in chronic and neuropathic pain. He currently runs the Kings College London masters of pain science programme. He knows more about dragon flies than most people in the world and he knows more about the immune system than he does about dragon flies.
Bob van Hilten
Professor Bob van Hilten has only three degrees – medical, neurological and scientific – all from the Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is considered a world expert in movement disorders and complex regional pain syndrome, which is why he is Scientific Director of the TREND consortium in the Netherlands – a multimillion Euro multi-programme project aimed at better understanding and treatment of CRPS. He recently purchased the most sophisiticated interactive whiteboard/computer screeny thingie for his office and assures me that it has nothing to do with the World Cup and that he would come to work dressed up as Robin van Percy anyway. He is on that many committees (the small, important ones – not the big faffy ones) and has published that many papers that he now no longer bothers to count them. BodyinMind is thrilled that he squeezed another nanosecond out of his hectic schedule to write a post. Clearly, he did not write this bio.
Associate Professor Ben Wand is currently the coordinator of musculoskeletal studies for the Physiotherapy program at the University of Notre Dame Australia. He completed his original physiotherapy degree, as well as post graduate qualifications in sports science and manipulative physiotherapy in Sydney. He undertook his PhD at Brunel University in London on physiotherapy management of acute low back pain.
Ben’s current research interests include the role of central nervous system dysfunction in chronic low back pain and physiotherapy management of chronic spinal pain. Link to Ben’s published research here.
Professor Gunnar Wasner is Consultant Neurologist in the Department of Neurology and the Division of Neurological Pain Research and Therapy, University of Kiel, Germany. After qualifying in Medicine from Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, in 1996, he undertook training in neurology with sub-specialization in chronic pain, clinical neurophysiology intensive care and geriatric medicine.
Gunnar’s main research interest is the pathophysiology and therapy of neuropathic pain states. From 2005–2007 he worked as a Humboldt Foundation fellow at the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, where he now holds a Honorary Appointment. In 2008, he was appointed Honorary Clinical Professor at Wollongong University in Australia. He has authored over 80 publications and has been the recipient of numerous awards from the German Society for the Study of Pain, the Sertürner Society, the German Clinical Autonomic Society, the German Neurological Society and the International Association for the Study of Pain.