Meet the #EFIC2022 Scientific Programme Committee
Eija Kalso, MD, DMedSci, graduated from the Medical Faculty of the University of Helsinki where she also defended her doctoral thesis. She is a specialist in anaesthesiology and has a special competence in pain medicine. She continues to work at the Helsinki University Hospital with a main affiliation at the University of Helsinki, Dept. of Pharmacology and SleepWell research programme. She has been full professor in Pain Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine since 2004. She served as vice dean for the faculty in 2010-2013. She was elected to the Finnish Academy of Sciences in 2010 and to the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters in 2017.
Eija Kalso has spent two most fruitful prostdoctoral years at the University of Oxford and worked first as a clinical lecturer and later as visiting professor at the Karolinska Institute.
Eija Kalso is the founding president of The Finnish Association for the Study of Pain and president of the Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain. She has served in several committees and in the Council and executive committees of IASP, the president of which she was in 2010-2012.
Eija Kalso has also served in the editorial boards of the European Journal of Pain, PAIN, and Scandinavian Journal of Pain.
The main research interest of Eija Kalso include both basic and clinical pharmacology of pain, multidisciplinary pain medicine, genetics of pain and recently also the role of sleep in pain.
Mike Bennett is the St Gemma’s Professor of Palliative Medicine and is Director of the Academic Unit of Palliative Care. The Academic Unit is an internationally recognized multidisciplinary research and teaching unit based at the University of Leeds and St Gemma’s Hospice, UK. He qualified from University of Birmingham in 1988 and completed an MD (doctoral thesis) in 1999 resulting in the LANSS Pain Scale, an internationally used tool for identifying neuropathic pain. In 2017, he secured formal University Teaching Hospice status for St Gemma’s Hospice (first in the UK) where he works clinically 2 days per week.
His main research interests are in cancer pain and neuropathic pain, and evaluating interventions at the end of life. He currently leads an £2.2m NIHR Programme Grant and a £1.4m Yorkshire Cancer Research Programme Grant focused on early integration of palliative care and better pain management for cancer patients. Since taking up his post in Leeds, he has generated over £9.5m in research grants and awards. He has published over 200 papers in scientific journals. He chaired the Cancer Pain SIG for the International Association for the Study of Pain and chaired the NCRI Palliative and Supportive Care Clinical Studies Group from 2008 to 2014, and chaired the NICE guideline evidence review on Opioids in Palliative Care.
He led the writing of Core Standards for Cancer Pain which are now adopted into the NHS and form part of the CQC inspection framework, and led the writing of the cancer pain taxonomy for ICD-11 as part of the IASP task force. He co-leads an EFIC task force on European standards for cancer pain management. He co-edited the book ‘Practical Management of complex cancer pain’ which won the BMA Book of the Year in 2015. He has chaired various organizing and scientific committees for international conferences of the European Association for Palliative Care.
Emma is based at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care, King’s College London. At King’s she led the development of the UK’s first Interprofessional Pain Education programme that is delivered annually for 1300 students from six disciplines. As a member of the European Pain Federation EFIC Education Committee, she has the privilege of chairing the Nursing Working Group that developed the EFIC Core Curriculum for the European Diploma in Pain Nursing and interprofessional competencies across the EFIC curricula. She is passionate about interprofessional and competency–based education (developing skills, knowledge and values) and works locally, nationally and internationally to improve pain education for the benefit of people in pain.
She is past chair of the British Pain Society Education Special Interest Group where she and the team have led a number of projects to develop undergraduate and postgraduate education. Emma is also a member of the International Association for the Study of Pain Education Initiatives Working Group.
Katja Boersma is Professor of Psychology at the Center of Health and Medical Psychology, Örebro University, Sweden. Her main research interests revolve around understanding the role of psychology in the experience of pain and its consequences. An overarching goal is to develop and improve upon methods to prevent and treat chronic pain problems. With diverse methodologies Katja studies individual differences in for example emotional suffering, functional disability, overuse of prescription medication and sick leave. A particular focus is on the role of emotions and the regulation of emotions in the development and treatment of these problems.
Vicky Chapman was appointed to Chair in Neuropharmacology in 2008 in the School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham. She leads a research group focused on the mechanisms of pain and central sensitization. Experimental approaches include behavioural testing, spinal and supraspinal electrophysiology, ex vivo analysis of tissues, and in collaboration small animal fMRI and lipidomic mass spectrometry methods for the study of pain mechanisms in a range of models. She is Deputy Director of the Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre, with a current focus on peripheral and central mechanisms of osteoarthritis pain. She has published over a 100 peer reviewed articles (orcid.org/0000-0002-7969-2788).
Prof. Albert Dahan graduated from de Vrije University in Amsterdam (MD; 1986) and Leiden University (PhD; 1990). After receiving his PhD degree, he began his residency in Anesthesiology in 1990 (a 5-year program) and founded in 1992 the Anesthesia & Pain Research Unit, a clinical research united dedicated to cardiorespiratory research. He became staff anesthesiologist in 1995 and full professor of Anesthesiology in 2014. The research unit, which he leads since its inception, performs outcomes research in anesthesia and pain (treatment) with special focus on respiratory physiology and pharmacology, and aims the widespread distribution of gained knowledge in close collaboration with academic and non-academic partners. The work in the research unit is made possible by a multitude of grants that he received from national and international funding agencies and commercial partners. Currently there are 20 PhD students in the department working under his leadership on novel anesthesia techniques, phenotyping pain patients as biomarker of pain treatment (for example by using cornea confocal microscopy to quantify small fiber neuropathy), and the pharmacology of opioids and anesthetics. He published over 400 peer reviewed papers on respiration, pain, pain treatment, anesthesia, and opioid-induced respiratory depression.
Dr. David Finn is Professor and Head of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Principal Investigator, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research at the National University of Ireland Galway. Professor Finn graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology from NUI Galway in 1997 and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Bristol in 2001. From 2001 to 2004, Professor Finn worked as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Neuroscience, University of Nottingham. Professor Finn is currently President-Elect of International Cannabinoid Research Society, Past-President of the Irish Pain Society, and he sits on the sits on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), the European Pain Federation (EFIC) Council, and on the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) and EFIC Presidential Task Forces for Cannabis, Cannabinoids and Chronic Pain. The overall aim of Professor Finn’s research is to increase our understanding of the neurobiology of pain, affective disorders (including anxiety and depression), and their co-morbidity. His work focuses, in particular, on the affective and cognitive dimensions of pain, stress-pain interactions, and neuroinflammatory processes, with an emphasis on the endogenous cannabinoid, opioid and monoaminergic systems. Professor Finn is a former recipient of the President of Ireland Young Researcher Award from Science Foundation Ireland, the Wyeth Award for outstanding research in Preclinical Psychopharmacology from the British Association for Psychopharmacology and the Pain Research Medal from the Irish Pain Society. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of 5 international scientific journals (Pain, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Scandinavian Journal of Pain, Brain Research and Frontiers in Neuropharmacology). He has published over 150 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters and frequently lectures at international conferences.
Egil Andreas Fors
Professor MD/PhD in General Practice and professor competency and Behavioural Medicine. Certified competency in Pain medicine, specialist in Psychiatry and General Practice. Affiliation: Department of Public Health and Nursing (ISM), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway. Senior consultant in Clinical Pain and fatigue rehabilitation medicine, Coperio Medical Center. President of the Norwegian Association for Pain Medicine. Main interests: Chronic widespread pain including fibromyalgia and other primary pain conditions; pain taxonomy; pain, stress and immunology; pain in primary care, societal burden of chronic pain; pain treatment and rehabilitation.
- 2020- Post Doc, Dept Anaesthesiology, Zealand University Hospital Roskilde and Køge
- 2017- Head of Research, Centre for Anaesthesiological Nursing Research, Zealand University Hospital, Køge
Scientific experience: My main research has, for the last 8 years, focused on patients´ pain levels and analgesic treatment after surgery. My studies include large numbers of prospectively clinical cohort data in terms of reporting the proportions of patients obtaining acceptable pain levels and additionally investigating the analgesics, they have received perioperatively. Another important part of my research is investigating the Mobil Emergency Team (MET) in terms of both an improvement in the cooperation between the MET and the nurses at the wards and also when the MET is used as an Outreach team at the wards. Furthermore, during the last five years supported and facilitated nurses and doctors at all levels in making their own research or quality or development projects resulting in abstracts, posters or articles.
- Member of the Scientific Program Committee EFIC
- Chair for the development network at Zealand University Hospital
- Member of the scientific board (symposium group) Zealand University
Thomas Graven-Nielsen received a M.Sc.EE degree within Biomedical Engineering from Aalborg University, Denmark in 1994 and acquired his PhD within Biomedical Science and Engineering in 1997 (Aalborg University). In 2006 he obtained a Doctoral degree in Medical Science (Copenhagen University). He is Director at Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain (CNAP), Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Denmark (since 2015), and Full Professor in Pain Neuroscience since 2008. The Danish National Research Foundation funds CNAP. Adjunct Professor at University at Western Sydney, Australia (2015-2017), and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia (since 2004). The research focuses on translational studies of musculoskeletal pain bridging the gap between basic animal findings and clinical manifestations of pain. The scope is to identify and modulate key features of human pain neuroplasticity leading to prevention of maladaptive neuroplasticity and promote advantageous neuroplasticity. Development of pain models, bio-markers, and assessment technologies are key biomedical tools for the translational studies. The core areas are muscle pain, joint pain, referred pain, localised and widespread deep-tissue hyperalgesia, pharmacological screening, and electrophysiological techniques to assess muscle pain physiology and neuroplasticity. He has published 375+ papers and reviews (300+ peer-reviewed, H-factor: 61) and received several awards. He reviews papers on a regular basis for high ranked journals, has presented as keynote speaker at several international conferences, and organised scientific workshops and symposia at international meetings. More than 10 national and international collaborations on translational pain research have been established including research groups in Sweden, UK, Japan, USA and Australia. Several international guest professors have worked with Dr. Graven-Nielsen in his laboratory facilities.
Michaela Kress is a physician scientist and full professor at the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Physics Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria. She served as President of the Austrian Neuroscience Association, member of the Scientific Program Committee of several IASP and EFIC congresses and coordinator of the ncRNAPain research consortium funded by the European Commission. She teaches medical students and supervises PhD students in MSCA- and FWF funded programs. Her research focus is on neuroimmune interactions and their hub regulators in the pain pathway and these are explored by integrating multiple methodological approaches ranging from behavior phenotyping to expression analysis and electrophysiology. In particular, non-coding RNAs, proinflammatory cytokines and bioactive lipids are assessed and novel models for pain research developed with a particular focus on human model systems.
Rohini Kuner is a Full Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the Director of the Institute for Pharmacology, Medical Faculty Heidelberg, Heidelberg University, Germany. She was trained in pharmacology, neuroscience and mouse genetics at the University of Iowa City, USA, the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg and Heidelberg University. She is the Spokesperson and Leading Scientist of the Heidelberg Pain Consortium (Collaborative Research Center 1158 funded by the German Research Foundation). It spans research activities from over 40 research groups and numerous disciplines in the basic sciences as well as clinical centres addressing neural circuits mediating pain and their reorganisation and plasticity in chronic pain states. Rohini Kuner’s research interests span neurobiological mechanisms underlying chronic pain disorders, elucidation of neural circuits mediating pain and other neurological disorders, cell-cell interactions in the nervous system and development of new strategies for pharmacological therapies. She is particularly known for her work on the molecular neurobiology of pain and has received several national and international scientific awards for uncovering key molecules mediating pain of inflammatory, neuropathic or cancer origin.
Bart Morlion trained as an anesthesiologist but works since over 25 years full time in pain medicine. He is the director of the Leuven Centre for Algology & Pain Management at the University Hospitals of Leuven and clinical professor at the University of Leuven, where he teaches pain management, pharmacology and evidence based medicine at the medical school.
He ended his term as president of the European Pain Federation EFIC in September 2020 and is serving currently as immediate past president in the executive board of EFIC. He is past president of the Belgian Pain Society (2006-2012). He is program director of the Belgian Interuniversity Postgraduate Studies in Algology and is also an active member of several committees in international scientific societies. Bart Morlion was deputy editor of the European Journal of Pain till September 2020 and author of numerous publications on the management of pain. His professional interests include all aspects of multimodal chronic pain management, including pharmacotherapy and the role of nutrition in pain.
Dr. Christopher Sivert Nielsen is a Research Professor Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and holds additional positions at the Department of Pain Management and Research at Oslo University Hospital and at the Department of Community Medicine at UiT –The Arctic University of Norway.
Dr. Nielsen is a clinical psychologist and epidemiologist specializing in the study of pain and related human characteristics. Dr. Nielsen has published extensively from Norwegian Twin Registry and was among the first to demonstrate that experimental pain sensitivity is heritable. Further studies have focused on genetic and environmental relationships between pain and psychological traits. He leads the Tromsø Pain Study, the largest experimental pain study worldwide with more than 30.000 examinations completed. The study size, high response rate (65%), wide age range (30-99) and availability of eight-year longitudinal follow-up data, make this a unique platform for studying clinical and experimental pain in the general population. The study has yielded new insight into the relationship between pain sensitivity and chronic pain conditions; provided evidence that both opioid and non-opioid analgesic use are associated with hyperalgesia; demonstrated that pain inhibitory mechanisms vary across sex and clinical pain status; and documented that pain tolerance is associated with low-grade systemic inflammation.
Professor Tamar Pincus holds a PhD in psychology (University College London), as well as Masters Degrees in experimental research methods in psychology (UCL), and epidemiology (Cambridge University). She is a registered practicing practitioner with the Health and Care Professionals Council. Her research has embraced a variety of methodologies, including experimental, epidemiological and qualitative. The research has included investigation of cognitive biases in pain patients; the psychological predictors for poor outcome in low back pain, and the study of clinicians’ beliefs and behaviours and their effect on patients with pain, especially in reference to effective reassurance and return to work. She has been involved in several randomized controlled trials. Throughout she has collaborated closely with researchers from many disciplines, including doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and clinical psychologists, from a multitude of institutions, in the UK and internationally. She also convened the international consensus group to establish what factors and measures should be included in prospective cohorts investigating the transition from early to persistent back pain. Most recently her research has focused on delivering effective reassurance to patients in primary care, and studying the use of technology to deliver rehabilitation. Her practical work has focused on training practitioners in effective communication skills and fostering awareness of patients’ psychological needs and concerns.
My research focusses on peripheral mechanisms of inflammatory and neuropathic pain, with an emphasis on regenerative techniques, antinociceptive pathways, tissue barrier homeostasis and in particular pain resolution networks. So, my group is active in basic and clinical translation research – specifically of the complex regional pain syndrome – but also health care research on multimodal pain treatment in several research consortia. We employ patients’ biomaterials, advanced preclinical rodent models and state-of-the-art animal behavioral portfolios, as well as in vitro cellular systems for barriers and neuronal structures to decipher these pathways. As a result, I have written more than 60 original research papers as well as reviews and contributed books on pain research. Starting in January of this year, I am the Scientific Leader of the Clinical Research Group KFO5001 ResolvePAIN funded by the German Research Foundation based in Würzburg.
During my training, I worked in rheumatology research at the Mayo Clinic and anesthesiology at the Charité and the University Hospital Würzburg. I now serve as a consultant in anesthesiology and the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Pain Medicine (ZiS). We offer too our patients acute postoperative pain services, outpatient clinics and several different daycare interdisciplinary multimodal pain treatment programs as well as interdisciplinary multimodal inpatient treatment.
Dr. Agnes Stogicza is a board-certified anesthesiologist and pain physician more than 15 years of experience in interventional pain management. She completed her pain fellowship at the University of Washington, where she served as faculty from 2010 to 2017. As a clinician-educator she treated pain patients and taught fluoroscopy and ultrasound guided minimally invasive interventional pain procedures, regional anesthesia techniques and medication management for complex chronic pain patients to pain fellows and residents.
Currently she works in chronic interventional pain and anesthesia in Budapest at Saint Magdolna Private Hospital.
She is a member of the World Institute of Pain (WIP) Education Committee, Vice-Chair of the Hungarian Section of WIP and serves as an examiner for the FIPP (Fellow of Interventional Pain Practice) and CIPS (Certified Interventional Pain Sonologist) Board Certification.
She regularly lectures and teaches interventional pain procedures in the US, Europe, South America and Asia for the World Institute of Pain (WIP), the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP), the American Society of Regional Anesthesia (ASRA), World Academy of Pain Medicine Ultrasonography (WAPMU) and other societies.
She is a co-founder of Pain School International (https://painschoolinternational.com/) that provides interventional pain education in Budapest for doctors from all around the world.
She has authored and co-authored numerous book-chapters and papers in chronic pain management.
Her main clinical interests are cancer pain, spinal pain and related conditions (headaches, arm and leg pains) and the application of regenerative medicine (such as PRP, Stem cell and prolotherapy) for various spine and musculoskeletal conditions.
Andrea Truini is a neurologist and neurophysiologist working in the neuromuscular disease unit of the Sapienza University of Rome. He is the coordinator of the Italian Special Interest Group on Neuropathic pain. His main clinical activity concerns peripheral neuropathy and pain. His research activity is completely devoted to neuropathic pain, and it is focused on clinical investigations about the mechanisms underlying pain.
Harriët Wittink is a physiotherapist and Professor and chair of the Lifestyle and Health research group, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands. She holds a Master of Science in Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine from the Institute of Health Professions at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from Boston University. Her research interests are chronic pain (physiotherapy) management, physical activity and behavioral change, health literacy and clinimetrics. She has authored over a 100 book chapters, monographs, and scientific papers. Her book “chronic pain management for physical therapists” was the first book on this topic for physiotherapists. She is currently the chair of the EFIC physiotherapy examination committee and vice chair of the EFIC education committee.