Somatosensory & Affective Neuroscience Research Group
- Professor Francis McGlone
- Dr Susannah Walker (Co-I on Leverhulme grant)
- Dr Ralph Pawling (Leverhulme postdoc)
- Dr Paula Trotter (Leverhulme postdoc)
- Sharon Smith (postgrad GSK CASE)
- Adarsh Makdani (postgrad Pain Research Institute)
- Dr Andrew Marshall (postgrad, LJMU/Salford NHS Trust)
- Dr Noreen O’Sullivan (University of Liverpool)
- Professor Håkan Olausson (Linkoping University, Sweden)
- Professor Johan Wessberg (University of Gothenburg)
- Dr Rochelle Ackerley (University of Gothenburg)
- Assoc Professor Susan Francis (Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre, University of Nottingham)
- Dr Rosa Panchuelo (Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre, University of Nottingham)
- Professor Richard Bowtell (Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre, University of Nottingham)
- Dr Paul Glover (Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre, University of Nottingham)
- Professor Vaughan Macefield (University of Western Sydney)
- Dr David Mahns (University of Western Sydney)
- Dr Donna Lloyd (University of Leeds)
- Dr Andrew Marshall (University of Manchester)
The skin senses are a truly multisensory modality, with specific populations of cutaneous afferent nerve fibres coding for touch, temperature, pain, itch and ‘pleasure’. A research focus of the group is on the afferent c-fibres that transduce pain, itch and pleasant touch.
We are particularly interested in a recently discovered – in humans – population of mechanosensitive c-fibres that respond to ‘gentle stroking touch’. These nerves - called c-tactile afferents (CT) - have been characterised using psychophysical, microneurography and neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, EEG & PET). The lab is one of the first in the UK to have a microneurography capability.
The research group is interested in the role of CTs in social touch and have recently been awarded a Leverhulme Trust grant – ‘Affective Touch & Human Social Behaviour’ – employing two postdocs. We will study the role of 5-HT in social touch and aim to determine; i) how trait differences in sociability affect ratings of pleasant and unpleasant touch as mediated by CT afferents; ii) explore whether exposure to affective social touch modulates social cognitions and behaviours; iii) establish whether 5-HT differentially modulates perceptual, cognitive and behavioural responses to affective touch; iv) establish the neural basis of trait and state responses to affective touch.
A long term association with the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre, University of Nottingham, is using ultra-high-field fMRI (7T) to further explore the central representation of somatosensory inputs to the brain. A pioneering development here is to couple intraneural microstimulation, during microneurography on single mechanosensitive afferents, with concurrent fMRI acquisition. This is enabling us to study cortical dynamics.
Professor in Neuroscience, NSP
After completing his PhD in Neurobiology at Sussex University he moved to University of Manchester in 1978 before moving to Liverpool University in 1985 to take up the post of Senior Neuroscientist at the Pain Research Institute. In 1994 he joined Unilever R&D where he built and led a Cognitive Neuroscience group, returning to academia in 2010 to take up his current post as Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience. He is Visiting Professor at Liverpool University, UK - Institute of Psychology Health & Society – and Eminent Visiting Professor at University of Western Sydney, Ausralia.
- Society for Neuroscience
- International Association for the Study of Pain
- Experimental Psychology Society
- British Society for Clinical Neurophysiologists
- Co-Leader, Research Centre Brain & Behaviour
- Postgraduate Tutor, NSP