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    Fredrik Bajers Vej 7 A2

    DK-9220 Aalborg East




Research centre name:

Centre for Neuroplasticity and Pain

Date of establishment and expected operational period of the centre:


Initials of research centre:


Head of research centre:

Prof. Thomas Graven-Nielsen

Participants and partners?

CNAP consists of researchers from four different research groups at AAU:

  • Neural Engineering and Neurophysiology
  • Integrative Neuroscience
  • Pain and Motor System Plasticity
  • Translational Pain Biomarkers

Who are we?

Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain (CNAP) is a Center of Excellence at the Department of Health Science and Technology, funded by the Danish National Research Foundation in the period 2015-2025.

What are our fundamental goals/objectives?

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.

Our research – what we do?

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.

How does our research contribute to societal health challenges?

Chronic pain is a key societal challenge: it affects one out of five adults, and is generally poorly treated. Through the research we conduct at CNAP, we contribute to improving pain treatments.

How are we funded?

CNAP is funded by the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF121) and by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 754465).

Who are our key collaborators?

CNAP cooperates with several renowned national and international researchers. In addition, a number of international collaborators are embedded within CNAP and participate actively in the centre’s activities.


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