Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. nat. Florian Beissner

Group leader for Somatosensory and autonomic research group
My main research interests include the autonomic nervous system, the somatosensory system, as well as interactions of the two. I have been studying the underlying mechanisms of acupuncture since 2006 using brain imaging, electrophysiological and psychophysical methods. After post-doc positions at the Universities of Frankfurt and Jena in Germany and the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in Boston, USA, I am currently Endowed Professor for Somatosensory and Autonomic Therapy Research at Hannover Medical School, Germany. My present research is focused on measuring the activity of single brainstem and hypothalamic nuclei in humans and applying these methods to the study of somatosensory and autonomic therapies, such as acupuncture.

Here is a recent podcast featuring some of the topic mentioned above (in German).

Jorge Manuel Sánchez, M.Sc.

Central nervous mechanisms of floatation and sensory deprivation for chronic pain:
One of the few treatments to mitigate chronic pain is sensory deprivation in a floting tank.
Why does it alleviate pain? Is it the isolation? Is it the floating? This is what we are investigating, with the help of functional magnetic resonance imaging to also see the underlying changes in the brain.

Nour Shaballout, M.D, PhD student

Pain drawings of patients in acute pain situations:
The objective of this research is to examine the diagnostic accuracy of electronic pain drawings (PD) obtained from patients using a tablet PC. One advantage of electronic over conventional PDs is the availability of extra information, such as pain area, and average pain intensity.

Quantification of segmental signs of internal organs:
It is always challenging to doctors to find out the affected visceral organ from physical exam alone. The objective of this project is to detect segmental signs associated with internal organ diseases by physical exam and to quantify them using electronic symptom drawings. The goal is to improve the differential diagnosis for acute chest and abdominal pain.

Natalia Nazarenko, M.D, Master in management, PhD student

How does the brain control inflammation? – The central autonomic network underlying immunomodulation in humans
Research advances of the past decades on the parthenogenesis of inflammation have shown a complex interaction between the central nervous system (CNS) and the innate immune system. The current idea is that the immune system informs the CNS about inflammation or tissue injury in the body and the CNS controls the inflammatory response. This project aims at elucidating the central nervous mechanisms underlying the inflammatory reflex in humans and particularly the immunomodulatory effects of invasive electrical nerve stimulation by combining a high-resolution fMRI with a well-established human endotoxemia model (HEM).