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University of Siena




The European Pain School (EPS), founded at the University of Siena (Italy) in 2002, is the first and still the premier school intended for students working on basic science and clinical topics related to acute and chronic pain. EPS has an interdisciplinary perspective and a distinct research orientation. Beginning with the EPS 2012 cycle EPS was adopted as an educational project of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). Young scientists at the Ph.D. or postdoctoral levels (or equivalent) in all fields of pain science and pain medicine are encouraged to apply.

Mission and Overview

In the past the basic mechanisms of pain and the neural pathways involved were explored through research on animals and human subjects using well defined noxious stimuli and observing neurophysiological, behavioral and subjective sensory responses. This straightforward approach, however, is not sufficient to understand most of the real-life spontaneous and prolonged pain states that occur in human patients and animals. Rather, chronic pain involves complex and nonlinear functioning of neural and extraneural systems resulting in the maintenance of the pain process.

Long known are inflammatory mechanisms that can induce a prolonged pain state mediated by pain-producing substances of multiple origin including the immune system, with cytokines stimulating peripheral nociceptors or neurons of the central somatosensory system. Prolonged and enhanced activation of the central pain system may also be due to failure of inhibitory controls in the CNS, a likely mechanism in neuropathic pain. Control by both GABA and endogenous opioids may be affected, causing persistent pain and allodynia. Altered control may also be mediated by cytokines released from activated astrocytes and microglia in the CNS.

The mammalian pain system shows a clear sexual dimorphism that may depend on hormonal influences during peri- and postnatal nervous system development, among other causes. This sexual dichotomy has consequences for pain expression and for psychosocial and medical consequences of pain in males and females, including e.g. the process of pain chronification. Recognition of this dichotomy is resulting in developments in pain medicine that take gender into account.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) and its worldwide chapters provide impetus to these and other emerging aspects of pain disease mechanisms, resulting in the advancement of interdisciplinary programs for the ultimate benefit of pain patients. The European Pain School is focused on advancing this new vision among junior investigators interested in basic and clinical research on pain.



Anna Maria Aloisi, Siena, Italy
Giancarlo Carli, Siena, Italy
Luana Colloca, Baltimore, MD, USA
Beth Darnall, Stanford, CA, USA
Marshall Devor, Jerusalem, Israel
Maria Adele Giamberardino, Chieti, Italy
Sean Mackey, Stanford, CA, USA
William Maixner, Durham, NC, USA
Jeffrey Mogil, Montreal, QC, Canada
Jordi Serra, Barcelona, Spain
Irmgard Tegeder, Frankfurt, Germany
Manfred Zimmermann, Heidelberg, Germany



Local Organisation

Prof. Anna Maria Aloisi
Management of the School
tel +39 0577 234103
fax +39 0577 234037

Web support services

Azuleon .:meetings:.


This year's photo gallery is available HERE.




14 December 2015


16 February 2016

Warning New deadline Warning

important dates

Notification of selection

20 March 2016


Deadline for attendance confirmation

1 April 2016


Deadline for payment

28 April 2016

School Board

Anna Maria Aloisi
Giancarlo Carli
Marshall Devor
Jordi Serra
Manfred Zimmermann




Ugo Basile