IASP Announces 2020 Collaborative Research Grant

Jul 31, 2020

IASP is pleased to announce the 2020 Collaborative Research Grant has been awarded to Dr. Giandomenico Iannetti, Italian Institute of Technology, Italy; Dr. André Mouraux, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium; and Dr. Cédric Lenoir, University College London, United Kingdom for their project “Development of a novel noninvasive method to monitor spinal cord activity in humans.” IASP Collaborative Research Grants provides assistance for international, interdisciplinary pain research collaborations.

This project aims to address the lack of a non-invasive electrophysiological sampling of nociceptive activity in the spinal cord.  The project has far-reaching implications, for both basic science and clinical practice, and would allow for a readout of spinal cord function in pathological states such as spinal cord injury and chronic pain, in which plasticity is known to occur in the neural circuitry of the spinal cord and, recorded simultaneously to EEG and assess the functional relationship between spinal cord function and supraspinal cerebral activities.

About the Recipients

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Dr. Giandomenico Iannetti leads the Neuroscience and Behaviour Laboratory at the Italian Institute of Technology. He leads a multidisciplinary research group (www.iannettilab.net) that investigates fundamental questions about how animals cope with the world through perception and action. In particular, he is interested in understanding the brain mechanisms for the detection and the motor reaction to surprising and sudden environmental stimuli. This research is relevant for the study of pain, defensive behaviours, and peripersonal space.

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Dr. André Mouraux is Professor at UCLouvain in Brussels, Belgium. He is a PI in the Institute of Neuroscience (IONS). Using non-invasive functional neuroimaging techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), combined with novel techniques to selectively activate specific classes of nociceptive afferents, the research performed by the team of André Mouraux (IONS/COSY) follows two main axes. First, to understand how the human brain processes nociceptive sensory input and how this leads to the perception of pain. Second, to understand the plastic changes in nociceptive pathways that occur after inflammation, injury or sustained nociceptive input that induce peripheral and central sensitization and may underlie the development of chronic pain in humans.

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Dr. Cédric Lenoir is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology, and Pharmacology at UCL in London. Before receiving his PhD in 2019 from the University of Louvain, he worked as a physiotherapist in the pain clinic and physical medicine department of Erasme Hospital (ULB, Brussels). He was awarded a WBI-World Excellence Fellowship from the Wallonia Brussels Federation to support his research at UCL. Currently his work comprises two main projects. In the first clinical project, he is investigating whether features of the EEG signal obtained in patients before surgery might predict the future development of persistent postsurgical pain. The second project, aims to develop a non-invasive recording technique able to sample, in humans, synaptic activity originating from the entire spinal cord.