With nearly half of year of funding behind us, it was time to take stock of our scientific progress and bring in external experts to give us feedback. The symposium program was highly multidisciplinary with six SFB1158 project leaders from Research Areas A and B giving detailed talks on the questions and concepts driving their research fields. We were very fortunate to gain Jürgen Sandkühler, Min Zhuo, Rebecca Seal and Walter Zieglgänsberger, who not only gave an overview on their excellent research, but also spent time in the laboratories of SFB principal investigators and provided feedback on our plans and progress.

Jürgen Sandkühler is a distinguished pain researcher and Director of the Center for Brain Research in, Vienna, Austria, where he holds a Professorship for Neurophysiology. He pioneered the study of synaptic long-term potentiation and plasticity in the spinal cord and delivered key insights into the pro-nociceptive as well as anti-nociceptive actions of opioids, which he discussed in the symposium.

Min Zhuo is a distinguished Professor of Neurophysiology at University of Toronto and has headed internationally-reknowned research institutions in the USA, Canada, China and Korea. Min Zhuo is very well known for his work on the cortical processing of pain and fear memory, which he presented in a session on cortical plasticity at the symposium. Min Zhuo was recently appointed as a Guest Professor by the University of Heidelberg and we were delighted to welcome him in the SFB!

Rebecca Seal is a Professor for Neurobiology at Pittsburgh University and a dynamic member of the Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research. Rebecca’s elegant recent work has thrown new light into spinal circuits mediating mechanical allodynia, a major clinical problem in chronic pain patients, which was very well received in the symposium.

Walter Zieglgänsberger’s scintillating talk on challenges and perspectives in pain research marked the finale of this exciting day. Walter Zieglgänsberger is a distinguished Professor, formerly at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich, with a long and eminent career in the field of pain. 

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