Dorsal root ganglion function in human neuropathic pain
  • Our projects aim at detecting in-vivo structural and functional imaging markers of dorsal-root-ganglion (DRG) morphometry, perfusion and permeability, and correlate these with the presence, quality and intensity of pain. Patients with painful lumbar monoradiculopathy due to herniated discs or to inflammation (e.g. Borrelia, Varicella Zoster Virus) as well as patients with painful small fiber neuropathy caused by M. Fabry will be included. We hypothesize that DRG parameters will differ from healthy controls and from patients with idiopathic small fiber neuropathy.
Study of chronic pain in patients treated by surgical pain management
  • Although clinical experience clearly indicates that electrical stimulation is able to strongly and effectively modulate pain, our understanding of underlying mechanisms is highly limited. The aim of this project has been to explore potential mode of action by neurophysiological investigations under stimulation and without in patients who are suffering from chronic pain and have been treated by electrical neuromodulation.
 
Human embryonic (hESC’S) and human induced pluripotent stem cells
(hiPSC’s) derived nociceptors: a new tool to study molecular mechanisms of pain
  • Since several years, we are working on the development of differentiation strategies to drive hESC’s and hiPSC’s into sensory neurons. We have established a two-step differentiation procedure, which partially allows us to recapitulate the in vitro development of the sensory nervous system, starting with the generation of neural crest-like cells, the in vivo progenitors of sensory neurons. The hESC-derived progenitor cells are used in a second step to drive them into sensory neurons. Using this procedure, we were the first ones to establish a protocol for the generation and characterization of functional human mechanoreceptors (Schrenk-Siemens et al., 2015). We have now established a protocol to generate functional nociceptors which we can identify using a reporter stem cell line, we generated, expressing td tomato driven by the endogenous TrkA locus. Our plan is to study cellular and molecular aspects of pain in these cells. Especially the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with pain-related diseases offers new avenues in pain research and drug development.
BDNF as target for chronic pain treatment: When and where?
Jing Hu
  • BDNF has been shown to be crucial for chronic pain development and maintenance. However BDNF also promotes neuronal growth, neurogenesis and survival after nerve injury. This project is focused on understanding the regulation of BDNF/TrkB on different levels in pain pathway at different time points after injury, in order to optimally modulate BDNF-TrkB signaling to prevent the development of chronic pain while facilitate the recovery of the nervous system from injury or improve the relief of established chronic pain.

News

  • Upcoming ICD-11 Classification of Chronic Pain

    The upcoming ICD-11 Classification of Chronic Pain is featured in Pain Research Forum

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  • Annual International Research Symposium 2018

    Annual International Research Symposium 2018

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  • PHOENIX Science Award 2018

    Rohini Kuner honoured with Phoenix Science Award

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  • Young scientists honoured at Pain Congress

    At the German Pain Congress (Deutscher Schmerzkongress), SFB Scientist Dr. Linette Tan was honored with this year's prize for basic science. Other scientists working in the Heidelberg Pain Consortium also received prizes.

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  • Young Scientists Retreat

    On 1-2 October 2018, the Heidelberg Pain Consortium Young Scientists Team hosted the Young Scientists Retreat at the Siegfriedbrunnen Ringhotel in Grasselenbach.

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