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").
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.
After a professional experience in the artistic field I worked as a physiotherapist notably in a chronic pain centre. From 2014-2018, I conducted a PhD at UCLouvain, under the supervision of André Mouraux and Samar Hatem, with the aim of characterizing the relationship and hierarchical organization between brain areas involved in nociceptive processing such as the primary somatosensory cortex and the operculo-insular cortex. I conducted several studies combining neuromodulation techniques (such as repetitive transcranial magnetic (rTMS) or transcranial and spinal direct current stimulation (tDCS)) combined with functional neuroimaging techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). I am also collaborating with Emanuel van den Broeke to a research project investigating central and peripheral mechanisms of secondary hyperalgesia. In 2019, I joined the research team of Prof. G.D. Iannetti (UCLondon).
When we feel pain, our brain automatically locates it but also detects, through our vision, what provokes it. Thus it coordinates different sensory modalities: touch and perception of pain to monitor our body, and vision to track our environment. If vision and feeling pain are coordinated by the brain, what happens if one of these two senses is disrupted? Lieve Filbrich tries to answer that question. We want to analyse what happens at the visual level if we suffer chronic pain, and more specifically in the space that surrounds the afflicted limb.
Studies have suggested that Alzheimer's disease (AD) is related to changes in brain function that are present already at very early, pre-clinical stages of the disease. For example, recent functional neuroimaging studies have shown early alterations in brain connectivity, and that these alterations are most prominent in highly-connected cortical "hub areas". These hub areas are also those that are most affected by AD lesions. These findings support the view that AD pathology could, at least in part, result from an activity-dependent degeneration. Initial excessive neural firing in hub areas due to increased excitability or connectivity could lead to later neurodegeneration and disruption of connectivity. Very recently, studies conducted by Prof. JN Octave (UCL) have suggested that AD could be related to a decrease in the expression of the cellular Cl- ion extruder KCC2, leading to an increase in intracellular Cl- and, thereby, an inhibitory-to-excitatory shift of GABAA receptor activity. The aim of the present study is to test whether GABAergic neurotransmission is altered at early pre-clinical and pre-demential stages of AD as compared to matched healthy controls.
he 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.