Researcher in Neuroscience

Catholic University of Leuven

Researcher in Neuroscience 
(ref. BAP-2023-215)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) & University of Leuven (KU Leuven) The Pain in Motion (PAIN) research group (VUB) has extensive experience in chronic (low back) pain research with a focus on pain sensitivity and lifestyle factors, including sleep. The Laboratory for Brain-Gut Axis Studies (LaBGAS, KU Leuven) specializes in integrative neuroscientific studies to decipher the psychobiological mechanisms of pain sensitivity and symptom perception in health and functional somatic syndromes. They have extensive expertise in psychobiological measures and neuroimaging techniques such as PET and fMRI. The Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab (Dartmouth College) is leading expert in fMRI analyses and focuses on brain-body research. This project is a joint extension of successful research lines and collaborations of our groups with a multidisciplinary, mutual complement of expertise which guarantees the feasibility. The current interuniversity PhD project is part of the FWO (Research Foundation Flanders)-sponsored research project “Unraveling the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the bidirectional sleep-pain relationship in people with non-specific chronic low back pain” granted to Prof. Dr. Iris Coppieters (PAIN, VUB and LaBGAS, KU Leuven), Prof. Dr. Lukas Van Oudenhove (LaBGAS, KU Leuven), Dr. Nathalie Weltens (LaBGAS, KU Leuven) and Prof. Dr. Tor Wager (CANlab, Dartmouth College).


Chronic low back pain (CLBP) with and without insomnia is a highly prevalent and debilitating disorder characterized by huge socioeconomic burden. Sleep disturbances contribute significantly to CLBP severity and have a bidirectional relationship with chronic pain. This project will f