Neural Circuits of Pain and their Reorganisation in Chronic Pain

The international Paincircuits conference ( was a satellite meeting of the main EFIC meeting, Copenhagen, Denmark focused on interrogating, discussing and debating structural and functional understanding of circuits and networks underlying sensory and affective components of pain and their modulation by circumstances which induce structural reorganization and functional plasticity, including disease states, negative emotions and stress. Therefore, this meeting brought together internationally leading thinkers and experts with next generation puzzle-solvers to discuss latest insights and advances on neural circuits at all levels in pain pathways and covered novel data in basic science as well as clinical research. Selected speakers presented the latest, most relevant insights from their own research theme. Here, we emphasized on showing novel data and sharing the most original concepts and hypotheses. Leading international experts on neural circuits mediating sensory and affective components of pain came together in this meeting.  During this meeting, we had also organized young scientist sessionwhich constituted an important part of the scientific program and was organised fully by young scientists (elected representatives of PhD student and post-doc trainees in the Heidelberg Pain Consortium). Young international scientists were invited to give short talks on their research projects. They were chosen and invited independently by the Young Scientists Committee and these talks were complemented by contributions from young scientists in the Heidelberg/Mannheim area. This provided exposure to young scientists and helped them to harness the mentoring capacity of the senior scientists attending the symposium. 


We also organised a session on scientific publishing entited `Demystifying the editorial and peer review processes at Nature research journals´ which was moderated by young scientists. In this session, the focus was to discuss challenges and opportunities in scientific publishing, encompassing current questions about criteria such as priority, novelty, quality in publishing scientific results and reviewing methods. Dr. Brett Benedetti, Senior Editor at Nature Medicinehad accepted our invitation to run this session– it not only led to a scintillating discussion between leading scientists in the pain field and a leading journal in scientific publishing, but also raised awareness in young scientists for issues and challenges regarding scientific publishing and how this can shape their career. The Nature journal editor also discussed editing and scientific publishing as job opportunities and alternative opportunities for young scientists to contribute towards scientific progress.

We also organized poster sessions during the meeting.All meeting participants were required to submit abstracts and the abstracts were read and evaluated by the organisers to ensure quality and relevance. Poster sessions of abstracts passing the quality assurance test were planned on all days of the symposium and all attendees at the symposium were given a chance to present their work in interactive sessions. Accordingly, ample time had been planned in over the long breaks between talks and the poster sessions were organised right next to the coffee break and meal areas to facilitate discussion over breaks. Young scientists were particularly encouraged to present their latest research in poster presentations to foster interactions and networking with each other as well as a dialogue with experts in the field. At the start of morning sessions, selected poster presenters, i.e. PhD/postdoctrainees,were given a chance to make a ‘pitch’ for their poster(using a 3-min teaser in form of slides or a video or a speech) so as to attract maximal viewers to their posters. Finally, Grünenthal AG had agreed to sponsor 4 poster prizesfor young scientists, which were selected by the poster selection committee and presented at the end of the symposium. We also applied for CME accreditation pointsat the State Medical Chamber, Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg and this event was accredited with 15 credit points.


More information and a photogallery can be found on the Conference Webpage.


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