About CNAP

About CNAP

The ambition of CNAP is to identify and modulate key features of human pain neuroplasticity. We keenly believe that this can be achieved through a systematic engineering approach, including provoking, probing and modulation of the dynamic neuroplastic properties of the pain system.

CNAP applies a basic research approach where new advanced biomedical provocation and probing platforms are being discovered and applied to study novel aspects of the human pain neuroplasticity. When an injury results in acute pain, the nervous system undergoes an adaptive neuroplastic response resulting in an increase in sensitivity. After some time, the pain neuroplasticity is normalized as the injury heals. In some cases, such neuroplastic processes fail to normalize during convalescence, and acute pain develops into chronic pain with hypersensitivity. The continuing pain after injury resolution may be caused by maladaptive pain neuroplasticity. In contrast, advantageous neuroplasticity permits the nervous system to cope with challenges such as maladaptive pain neuroplasticity to help returning to a pain-free state.

Interdisciplinary, international cooperation, and research training combined with the capacity of leading researchers is the core research philosophy of CNAP. Thus, all our research groups are highly interdisciplinary and include experts within e.g. biomedical engineering, neuropsychology, pharmacology, biophysics, and medicine. To secure international excellence, CNAP strives for an equal distribution between genders and between national and international staff.

Daily Management

CNAP is organised with a steering committee consisting of the four primary investigators (PIs) that each heads a Research Interest Group (RIG). Center Director, Professor Thomas Graven-Nielsen (Pain and Motor System Plasticity) is one of the PIs, the others being Professor Lars Arendt-Nielsen (Translational Biomarkers in Pain and Precision Medicine), Professor Ole Kæseler Andersen (Integrative Neuroscience), and Professor Winnie Jensen (Neural Engineering and Neurophysiology). The steering committee is responsible for the day-to-day management, as the specific management of the research projects is handled in the RIGs. 

Picture of the four CNAP primary investigators

Research Interest Groups (RIGs)

Four thematic Research Interest Groups (RIGs) are established across disciplines and competences. Interaction across RIGs is facilitated by cross-RIG projects and RIG activities (e.g., seminars, journal clubs) open for all CNAP members.
Trainees are expected to spend time in other RIGs to learn about the different areas.
We believe that such an organisation facilitates a dynamic and inspiring research environment.

Please find further information about the RIGs here:

CNAP Advisory Board

The current (2021-2025) external members of the CNAP Advisory Board are:

Prof. Bijar Ghafouri, Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden 
Prof. Markus Ploner, PainLabMunich, Technical University Munich
Prof. Andrea Truini, Department of Human Neuroscience, Sapienza University, Rome

The previous (2015-2021) external members of the CNAP Advisory Board were: 

Prof. Victoria Chapman, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Nottingham and Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre
Prof. André Mouraux, Pain Research at the Institute of Neuroscience (IONS), Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
Prof. Troels Staehelin Jensen, The Danish Pain Research Centre, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University


CNAP Advisory Board meeting, February 2019

Picture of CNAP primary investigators with CNAP Advisory Board

All core functions in CNAP are physically established at the Department of Health Science and Technology (HST), The Faculty of Medicine, Aalborg University (AAU).

CNAP covers new initiatives which are in part spin-outs from the successful activities of the Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction (SMI), HST, AAU (formerly DNRF funded 1993).

Group picture, September 2021

CNAP group picture

Group picture, November 2020

Group picture, November 2019

Picture of all CNAP staff, November 2019

Group picture, November 2018

Picture of all CNAP staff, November 2018

Group picture, November 2017

Picture of all CNAP staff, November 2017

Group picture, September 2016

Picture of all CNAP staff, September 2016

Group picture, March 2015

Picture of all CNAP staff, March 2015

Primary investigators