Tobias and Andreas have defended their theses!

The Bingel Laboratory

Translational Pain Research Unit

University Medicine Essen
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Bingel

C-TNBS Transl. Neuro- & Bhv. Sciences
SFB TRR 289 Logo



Postdoc wanted!

Become a part of the Bingellab: We are looking for a motivated Postdoc in Essen! Topic: Cognitive modulators of pain and analgesia in health and chronic pain as part of the CRC/TRR 289. Methods: Functional/structural MRI and pharmacology. More information here.


Boys Day at the Bingellab!

On the 25th of April, two boys interested in science spent the day in the lab for Boys Day. We had lots of fun with the rubberhand illusion, information about studying medicine and doing science at the same time, talking about transcranial magnetic stimulation, crafting brain helmets out of paper, and measuring pain with the cold pressor task.


New paper about touch benefits

Receiving touch is of critical importance, as many studies have shown that touch promotes mental and physical well-being. But what is the current status quo of research? Which moderators contribute to positive effects of touch on mental and physical health? Helena Hartmann, together with collaborators from Amsterdam and Bochum, published a systematic review and multivariate meta-analysis of the physical and mental health benefits of touch interventions. Read the study published in Nature Human Behaviour here.


New paper about treatment expectations

Treatment outcome is strongly influenced by treatment expectations. Modifying expectations by targeting contextual factors can substantially improve therapy success, making them a valuable focus for therapeutic interventions. Elif Buse Caliskan, Ulrike Bingel and Angelika Kunkel highlight the neurobiological underpinnings of treatment expectations as well as strategies to modulate contextual factors to optimize treatment outcomes in daily clinical settings. Their article was published in Pain Reports and can be read here.

Tamas Spisak

Congrats Prof. Tamás Spisák!

How does our brain work? Is our knowledge sufficient to predict individual human behavior? Dr. Tamás Spisák, new Professor of Predictive Neuroscience at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Duisburg-Essen, is developing biomarkers. Read more about his future plans here (picture UDE/Bettina Engel-Albustin). We are so happy for him and wish him all the best in this new role!


Helena Hartmann wins Open & Reproducible Science prize!

And we have another celebratory event: Helena recently won the Open & Reproducible Science prize of the Society for Social Neuroscience, in the category “human social neuroscience”. Helena employs state-of-the-art Open Science practices in her own research, including preregistration of fMRI studies and sharing code and data on the Open Science Framework. She is an active contributor to the field and promotes Open Science at many different levels, with the overarching aim of making open-access online resources available to the scientific community, especially early career researchers. Helena is also an editor at two important science outlets that promote Open Science: Collabra: Psychology and PCI Registered Reports. Among her many contributions, Helena has created and now curates a GitHub repository of helpful research tools and resources for scientists called “Awesome PhD” and is part of ARIADNE, a scientific navigator to help you through the resource jungle.


Congrats Julian Kleine-Borgmann!

We excitedly congratulate Dr. med. Julian Kleine-Borgmann on passing his specialist examination! Julian studied medicine in Essen and has been successfully completing his specialist training here at the Department of Neurology since 2016. At the same time, he has been working scientifically in the Bingellab, focusing his research on the interaction of cognitive factors with the development and treatment of pain. During his specialist training, he also spent six months at Einstein College in New York City and at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Here he conducted research on migraine, among other topics. We are delighted to have such a dedicated colleague in our team and wish him every success in his future career – starting with the acquisition of the additional qualification “Special Pain Medicine”.


Welcome Jonas Zaman!

We warmly welcome Prof. Jonas Zaman (KU Leuven) as a guest researcher to the Bingellab! He has gained international recognition for his pioneering research on the interplay between fear and learning in the context of chronic pain. Through innovative experimental methods, his work has significantly contributed to reshaping our understanding of how acquired knowledge generalises to new contexts and how overgeneralisation can drive the development and maintenance of conditions like chronic pain or anxiety disorders. In his time with us, Professor Zaman will extend his investigations into fear and learning by characterising underlying brain mechanisms and exploring their broader implications for health and disease. Read more about his background and plans with us here (in German).


Utilizing the power of expectations

Ulrike Bingel wrote a German introductory article on “utilizing the power of expectations”. Promoting placebo effects and avoiding nocebo effects – this is useful and possible for almost every treatment. Every intervention, every medication taken, neurostimulation or physiotherapy is also subject to an expectation effect. It is important for therapists to know that they can support their patients through authentic and empathic communication. The example of placebo analgesia can be used to illustrate effects, mechanisms and communicative aspects can be shown particularly well. Find the book by Thieme publishers here.


New comment in the journal PAIN

Informed consent procedures and information about potential side effects of newly prescribed treatments present a classic dilemma. Although providing information about potential risks and side effects is necessary both from a medicolegal perspective and to maintain patient autonomy in a shared decision-making process, it can fuel patients’ worries and negative expectations. Ulrike Bingel and Katja Wiech discuss these topics in their comment, which you can read here.


The Bingel Laboratory

Prof. Dr. med. Ulrike Bingel

Clinical Neurosciences
University Hospital Essen
Department of Neurology

Hufelandstraße 55
45147 Essen
Fon: +49 (0) 201 723 - 2446
Fax: +49 (0) 201 723 - 6882

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