Research team led by André Mouraux

 

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.

People

Emanuel Van Den Broeke

Postdoctorate researcher (ERC Starting grant PROBING PAIN)

Coordinator : Pr. André Mouraux

 

The main objective of my research is to study pain- or nociception-induced central nervous system plasticity. Currently, my studies are focused on characterizing changes in nociceptive pathways that lead or contribute to hyperalgesia, and I am, thereby, particularly interested in the phenomenon of "central sensitization"; the increase responsiveness of nociceptive neurons in the central nervous system that generates widespread hyperalgesia ("secondary hyperalgesia").

 

Giulia Liberati

Chargé de recherches FNRS

Coordinator : Pr. A. Mouraux

The main objective of my research is to characterize how transient and sustained pain are represented in the human brain, taking advantage of the high temporal and spatial resolution of intracerebral electroencephalography (iEEG). I am particularly interested in investigating the role of the human insula in nociception and pain perception, as several findings suggest that this brain region plays a crucial role in the integration of sensory, affective, and cognitive dimensions of pain. 

Sabien van Neerven

Postdoctorate researcher (Fondation Louvain)

Coordinators : Prs. André Mouraux & Emmanuel Hermans

The general objective of my project is to characterize the effects of topical capsaicin treatment on the changes in function and structure of nociceptive pathways associated with the development of chronic neuropathic pain and/or central sensitization. The proposed project is translational, from bench to bedside, as it will combine work performed in an animal model of neuropathic pain and work performed in patients suffering from chronic post-operative pain. 

Sylvie Nozaradan

Postdoctorate researcher (Chargé de recherches FNRS).

Coordinator : Pr. A. Mouraux

The topic of my research is how musical rhythm entrains the human brain activity. With the help of Profs André Mouraux and Isabelle Peretz, my co-supervisor in Canada, I developed during my PhD an approach to capture the neural mechanisms of musical beat in humans. Currently, I explore this approach as a mean to investigate human neural mechanisms such as neural entrainment, sensorimotor synchronization and multisensory integration. ​To this aim, I use surface and intracerebral EEG, coupled with auditory/visual stimulations, and motion recordings. Also, this research gives rise to thoughts about how and why mixing art and science in research activities.

 

Samar Hatem

Post-doctorate researcher 

(FNRS clinicien chercheur post-doctorant)

Coordinator: Pr. A. Mouraux

The topic of my postdoctorate research fellowship is to examine interactions between pain and visuospatial perception in patients with unilateral chronic pain. As a clinical researcher, my aim is to assess the efficacy of prism adaptation as an original non-pharmacological approach to alleviate pain and to improve the functional outcome in patients with unilateral chronic pain of the upper extremity.

Caroline Huart

Post-doctorate researcher 

(FNRS clinicien chercheur postdoctorant)

Coordinators : Pr. P. Rombaux; Pr. A. Mouraux

The aim of our research project is to develop new methods for assessing the function of the olfactory system in humans (psychophysical assessment and electrophysiological assessment using chemosensory event-related brain potentials (CSERP)). CSERPs have an important disadvantage: the relatively weak signal-to-noise ratio of the recorded responses often limit the interpretation of the recorded responses. We thus developed new stimulation and analysis techniques to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of olfactory and trigeminal CSERPs. Finally, we are documenting the usefulness of chemosensory assessment for the diagnosis of pathologies associated with olfactory dysfunction, in particular, the differential diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.

Clinician at the Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology of the Cliniques universitaires Saint Luc. 

Cédric Lenoir

PhD student (ERC starting grant PROBING-PAIN).

Promoter : Pr. A. Mouraux; Co-promoter : Pr. S. Hatem

The objective of my PhD is to characterize the organization and the interdependences between different brain areas involved in processing of somatosensory and nociceptive inputs and in perception of pain in humans. Our approach will combine non-invasive neuroimaging techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). As a physiotherapist, I am also interested in the different aspects of pain modulation and how they can potentially be applied clinically.

Maxime Algoet

PhD student (ERC Starting Grant PROBING-PAIN)

Promoter : Pr. A. Mouraux

The general objective of my PhD project is to develop novel noninvasive means to characterize activity-dependent changes in brain function related to central sensitization and chronic pain. At the core of my project is the development of a novel approach based on the recording of TMS-evoked BOLD responses sampled using concurrent TMS-fMRI. As a first step, this will be used to characterize changes in cortical excitability and functional connectivity within different brain areas induced by a sustained experimental pain. Subsequently, this approach could be used to study changes in brain function related to chronic pain.

In parallel, I am also interested in studying the changes in motor excitability induced by an experimental pain. I combined TMS of the primary motor cortex with, respectively, brief and sustained nociceptive stimulation to characterize the spinal and supraspinal pain-motor interactions triggered by noxious stimulation.

Julien Lambert

PhD Student (ERC Starting Grant PROBING-PAIN)

Promoter : Pr. A. Mouraux; Co-promoter : Pr. C. Craeye

After three years as the head of the technical support team within the Cognitive and System Department of the Institute of Neuroscience of the UCL, I started a PhD. The general objective of my research is to develop a novel approach based on transcranial focused ultrasound (TFUS) and on the combination of TFUS with electroencephalography (EEG) to characterize and to investigate the interdependencies between the different brain regions involved in human pain perception. 

Dominika Sulcova

PhD student (ARC GABA-AD). Promoter: Pr. A. Mouraux; Co-promoter: Pr. A. Ivanoiu.

Baptiste Chemin

Ph.D. Candidate (FRIA)

Promoter : Pr. A. Mouraux; Co-promoter : Pr. I Peretz (BRAMS, Université de Montréal)

The goal of my project is to develop an original non-invasive approach to characterise Parkinson’s Disease (PD)-related changes in brain network dynamics. It will exploit a recent electroencephalographic (EEG) approach to investigate the large sensorimotor network underlying our ability to perceive and produce musical rhythms. PD patients show strongly impaired abilities for rhythm perception, rhythm production and beat prediction. This can be explained by the fact that the basal ganglia - a key hub of this network - are critically affected in PD. Characterizing these functional changes could constitute a unique mean to directly measure the consequences of a hub dysfunction on neural network in patients, and the modulation induced by neurorehabilitation strategies such as gait auditory cueing. 

Nicolas Lejeune

PhD student (FNRS : clinicien chercheur doctorant).

Promoters : Pr. A. Mouraux; Pr. S. Laureys (Liège Coma Science Group)

As a neurorehabilitation clinician, I am in charge of a care unit for patients with prolonged disorder of consciousness (i.e. patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome or in minimally conscious state). The aim of my research project is to understand how these severely brain injured patients are able to perceive pain using non-invasive methods such as surface EEG recordings. These investigations should also be of interest to develop a novel approach to study the relationship between pain perception and consciousness.

Dounia Mulders

PhD student (FNRS aspirant)

Promoters : Pr. M. Verleysen (ICTEAM) & Pr. A. Mouraux 

My research aims to characterize the human brain networks involved in the processing of nociceptive inputs, and to highlight to which extent the development of a chronic pain state could be related to some changes in these networks. To this end, novel signal processing tools and machine learning techniques will be designed, in order to analyze scalp and intracerebral EEG recordings. 

Erwan Guillery

PhD student (UCL Research Assistant)
Promoter : Pr. J.-L. Thonnard; Co-promoter : Pr. A. Mouraux

The objective of my PhD is to the involvement of high-level cognitive resources in the performance of a common manual behaviour.

In everyday life, object manipulation is among the most common tasks we perform and is usually performed concurrently to the execution of cognitive tasks. In a recent study we show that mental resources are required for both the planning and the online control of upper-limb movement. By using a motor-cognitive dual-task paradigm, current studies will examine the influence of a cognitive task on the different aspects of precision grip in elders and in patients presenting with a peripheral or central lesion of the nervous system. Indeed, it could well be that with aging and/or following such a lesion, precision grip is even more dependent on cognitive resources.

Lieve Filbrich

Postdoctorate researcher (ERC Starting grant PROBING PAIN)
Coordinator : Pr. André Mouraux