Research team led by Valery Legrain

Research team led by Valery Legrain

The main research interest of the team led by Valery Legrain (IONS/COSY) is to understand the cognitive mechanisms modulating the link between nociception and the conscious perception of pain, and the neurobiological substrates of these cognitive mechanisms. Different approaches are used: neurophysiology (event-related brain potentials), cognitive psychology (mental chronometry) and neuropsychology (investigation of patients with sensory-motor or attentional deficits).



Diana Torta

Postdoctorate researcher (FNRS chargé de recherches and KUL)

Coordinators : Pr. V. Legrain (UCL) and Pr. J. Vlaeyen (KUL)

My main research interest is to understand how attention shapes the elaboration and perception of nociceptive and non-nociceptive inputs, both in healthy and in clinical populations. More in detail, I investigate the interplay between space representation and the elaboration of somatosensory nociceptive and non-nociceptive stimuli. In addition, byusing fMRI techniques, I also study how our brain responds to noxious stimuli and what is the role of specific brain regions in the elaboration of noxious inputs.

Using novel techniques based on electroecencephalography, the objective of this postdoctoate research fellowship is to characterize the role of vision and spatial attention on the elaboration of somatosensory stimuli, in particular, nociceptive somatosensory stimuli.

Lieve Filbrich

PhD student (FNRS aspirant)
Promoter : Pr. V. Legrain

Adequately responding to a painful stimulus requires knowing where pain is localized on the body, but also where the cause of pain is localized in the external world. This involves for the brain to coordinate the somatotopic representation of the body and the representations of the space around the body. According to a recent theory, the spatial localization of pain depends on a cortical mapping system that integrates nociceptive (localization of the salient and threatening stimulus on the body), proprioceptive (localization of the limbs in external space) and visual information (localization of the cause/source of pain in the external world) into a multimodal and peripersonal representation of the body and the space nearby. The aim of the present project is to strengthen this theory by investigating, in patients suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), how pain in one limb affects the representation of the space surrounding the body. More specifically, using behavioral measures (temporal order judgment tasks), we will characterize the “neglect-like” deficits of CRPS patients in perceiving the spatial location of visual stimuli occurring close to the body. Findings will help to understand how pain is integrated in a peripersonal representation of the body and the space nearby. They could also have an important impact on the understanding and the rehabilitation of chronic pain.

Camille Vanderclausen

PhD student (Aspirant FNRS)

Promoter : Pr. V. Legrain

My research project aims to investigate how visual experience influences the perception of nociceptive stimuli and pain. More specifically, I compare the cognitive abilities of people with congenital blindness and those of normal sighted people to localize nociceptive stimuli on the body space.

Roxane De Keyser

PhD Student (FNRS Research Project)

Promoter : Pr. V. Legrain

My research project investigates the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying visual-nociceptive integration in the representation of the body and the peripersonal space. More specifically, I use steady state evoked potentials to explore how nociceptive stimulation affects the processing of external visual stimuli in order to form a meaningful multimodal representation of physical threats.

Charlotte Verfaille

PhD student (Aspirant FNRS)

Promoter: Pr. V. Legrain

My research project aims to investigate how pain affects cognitive abilities to perceive and act in external space. More specifically, using robotic technology and virtual reality, these abilities will be investigated in chronic pain patients.