Course Mechanisms, Clinical Presentation, and Treatment of Neuropathic Pain (online)


Course leader: Páll Karlsson

Language: English

Graduate school: Faculty of Health

Graduate program: ClinFO

Course fee: 6,000.00 DKK

Status: Course is open for application

Semester: Spring 2024

Application deadline: 12/12/2023

Cancellation deadline: 19/12/2023

Course type: Online education

Start date: 08/01/2024

Administrator: Lena Melchior Villadsen

The course C326/01 Mechanisms, Clinical Presentation, and Treatment of Neuropathic Pain is being offered by the Graduate School of Health, Aarhus University, 2024.

Criteria for participation: University degree in medicine, dentistry, nursing, or Master’s degree in biomedicine, neuroscience or related fields. Postgraduate research fellows (PhD students and research-year medical students).

Aim: The aim of this PhD course is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of pain and neuropathic pain, including their mechanisms, phenotypes, and treatment approaches, enabling them to critically analyze and evaluate existing knowledge, and to design research studies. Importantly, this course will contribute to international knowledge exchange and networking.

Learning outcomes: 

  • - By the end of this course, students will have developed a comprehensive knowledge and conceptual understanding of the theoretical foundations of pain, including neuropathic pain, its classification, and the underlying mechanisms involved.
  • - Students will be able to describe different pain phenotypes. They will also gain skills in interpreting research data related to pain phenotypes.
  • - Students will acquire in-depth knowledge of the mechanisms involved in the generation, transmission, and modulation of pain signals, with a specific focus on neuropathic pain. Specifically, students will develop the ability to critically evaluate experimental and clinical research findings pertaining to pain mechanisms as part of research projects or ongoing studies.
  • - This course will enable students to design research studies aimed at investigating pain and neuropathic pain. Students will gain skills in formulating research questions, selecting appropriate methodologies, and analyzing and interpreting data.
  • - Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of current treatment approaches for pain, including both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions.
  • - Students will be able to critically appraise current controversial issues in the field of neuropathic pain research, and critically discuss them in an academic discourse.

Workload: The full workload of the course is expected to be 50 hours


Throughout the course, students will engage in critical analysis of current literature, participate in case studies and discussions, write essays on controversial issues, and present their findings to foster a deep understanding of pain and its multidimensional aspects. The course includes lectures, group exercises and a Journal Club. In the introductory module, participants will receive an in-depth introduction to the fundamental knowledge on several key topics of pain (see bullet points below). In the comprehensive part distinguished international neurologists and researchers will guide participants through advanced concepts and research related to neuropathic pain.

  1. Molecular Mechanisms of Pain:
    • Neurophysiology of pain transmission and modulation
    • Ion channels, receptors, and neurotransmitters involved in pain signaling
    • Role of non-neuronal cells (peripheral and central glial cells)
    • Inflammatory mediators and their role in pain sensitization
    • Genetic and epigenetic factors influencing pain perception
    • Central sensitization and plasticity in chronic pain conditions
  2. Clinical Aspects of Pain:
    • Classification and characterization of different types of pain (e.g., nociceptive, neuropathic, inflammatory)
    • Pain assessment tools and scales
    • Psychological and sociocultural factors influencing pain perception and management
  3. Diagnosis and Evaluation of Pain:
    • Clinical evaluation and patient history taking
    • Physical examination and diagnostic tests for pain assessment
    • Imaging techniques for identifying pain-related abnormalities
    • Electrophysiological and neurophysiological methods for pain assessment
    • Biomarkers and molecular profiling for pain diagnosis and stratification
  4. Treatment Approaches for Pain:
    • Pharmacological interventions (e.g., analgesics, opioids, adjuvant medications)
    • Non-pharmacological interventions (e.g., physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, acupuncture, virtual reality)
    • Interventional pain procedures (e.g., nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation)
    • Emerging therapies and technologies (e.g., neuromodulation, gene therapy, regenerative medicine)
  5. Research in Pain:
    • Experimental models and techniques for pain research
    • Preclinical studies on pain mechanisms and novel drug targets
    • Clinical trials and evidence-based medicine in pain research
    • Translation of research findings into clinical practice

The course will be conducted virtually over a span of approximately 3 months, with a total of 10 course days. Each course day will consist of 3.5 hours, including a 30-minute break. Throughout the course, participants will have home assignments to complete between the course days. These assignments may be either individual or group-based to facilitate networking activities.

To accommodate participants from different time zones, the course will be held in the afternoon CET time, allowing for the involvement of individuals from both America and Asia.

Assessment for the course will be based on a Pass/Fail grading system. To successfully pass the course, participants are required to maintain an attendance rate of at least 80%, actively participate in class discussions, and submitting and receiving acceptance for their homework assignments and presentations during the course.

Instructors: Nanna Finnerup (AU), Jan Rosner (AU), Páll Karlsson (AU), Zahra Nochi (AU), Paulina Scheuren (University of British Columbia), Theodore Price (University of Texas), Franziska Denk (King’s College, London), Daniela Menichella (Northwestern University), Jan Vollert (King’s College, London), Sulayman Dib-Hajj (Yale University), Didier Bouhassira (Inserm U-987, Paris), Prasad Shirvalkar (University of California), Rocco Giordano (Aalborg University).

Venue: Virtual

Participation in the course is without cost for:

Course dates:

  • 08 January 2024 14:00 - 17:30
  • 15 January 2024 14:00 - 17:30
  • 22 January 2024 14:00 - 17:30
  • 29 January 2024 14:00 - 17:30
  • 05 February 2024 14:00 - 17:30
  • 19 February 2024 14:00 - 17:30
  • 26 February 2024 14:00 - 17:30
  • 04 March 2024 14:00 - 17:30
  • 11 March 2024 14:00 - 17:30
  • 18 March 2024 14:00 - 17:30