PhD Position in Multisensory Hypersensitivity in Pain Hyperalgesia

Catholic University of Leuven

The Research Group Health Psychology is located at KU Leuven, Belgium - a top-ranked research university in the heart of Europe (30 min to Brussels, 2 hours to London, Paris, and Amsterdam). Our team is internationally oriented and well-recognized and aims at unraveling how psychophysiological and somatic variables interact in health and disease from a biopsychosocial perspective. Both fundamental and applied research is being conducted to understand how bodily sensations are processed and how cognitive, emotional, learning, and neural processes contribute to the initiation, modulation, and maintenance of chronic bodily symptoms, illness, and disability. Collaborative, interdisciplinary research is performed by a network of experienced researchers, clinicians, and students who are fascinated by the behavioral science of health and disease. There is also a productive network of collaborative research within and outside Europe, and a strong emphasis on the clinical translational domain.


Patients suffering from chronic pain may show hypersensitivity to non-nociceptive sensory stimuli. By using experimental models inducing pain hyperalgesia, we observed that such hypersensitivity appears also in an experimental context, along with increased sensitivity to nociceptive stimuli (Torta et al., 2017). The relationship between nociceptive and non-nociceptive hypersensitivity is still unclear, as not fully elucidated are the mechanisms behind multisensory hypersensitivity in the pain context. This FWO-funded Junior Research project aims to investigate, by testing different theoretical perspectives (see also Torta et al., 2018): 1. The relationship between nociceptive and non-nociceptive hypersensitivity; 2. The mechanisms leading to non-nociceptive hypersensitivity. In line with the tradition of the lab, the PhD candidate will make use of behavioral and psychophysiological techniques (including, but not limited to, high-density EEG, and skin conductance) to answer these questions.


We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with a MA degree in psychology, neuroscience, behavioral science, or related fields with a strong affinity for research in the area of psychophysiology, neuroscience, pain, behavioral medicine, and/or health psychology. Since the position will be available starting from September 2023, candidates who expect to have obtained their master's degree before that date are also encouraged to apply. The official language of the group is English. Previous experience in the pain and/or multisensory fields, EEG, and psychophysiology is an asset. 
When applying, please provide a motivational letter and a CV with references. If the master's degree has not been obtained yet, one of the references should be your thesis (co)supervisor.


We offer a fully funded, full-time PhD position in a 4-year research project (initial 1-year position with extension for another 3 years based on a successful intermediate evaluation after 1 year), max 38 hours per work week, starting from September 2023 at the earliest.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Diana Torta, tel.: +32 16 37 66 23, mail:

Applications are accepted until the 31st of May. The results of the first round of selection will be communicated at the end of the first week of June. Interviews will take place the first week of July (online or in person depending on the location of the candidate and their availability). The exact dates will be communicated after the first round of selection. 
You can apply for this job no later than May 31, 2023 via the
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  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: May 31, 2023
  • Tags: Psychologie
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