The roles of the somatosensory cortex in nociception

Dr Liam Browne (primary)
Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research
University College London
Professor Matteo Carandini (secondary)
Institute of Ophthalmology
University College London


Potentially harmful stimuli are detected at the skin by nociceptor sensory neurons that drive rapid protective withdrawal behaviours. It is unclear how the somatosensory system encodes and integrates information from stimuli causing pain. Here we will use a number of advanced technologies to understand the role of the somatosensory cortex in encoding and integrating nociceptive information to coordinate appropriate protective responses to noxious stimuli. This should provide exciting new insights into how the nervous system guides behavioural responses to minimise risk of harm.


Browne LE, Latremoliere A, Lehnert BP, Grantham A, Ward C, Alexandre C, Costigan M, Michoud F, Roberson DP, Ginty DD, Woolf CJ. Time-resolved fast mammalian behavior reveals complexity of protective pain responses. Cell Reports. 2017, 20:89-98. (Lead & co-corresponding author).

Browne LE, Woolf CJ. Casting light on pain. Nature Biotechnology. 2014, 32:240-1.

Carandini M, Shimaoka D, Rossi LF, Sato TK, Benucci A, Knöpfel T. Imaging the awake visual cortex with a genetically encoded voltage indicator. Journal of Neuroscience. 2015. 35:53-63.

Stringer C, Pachitariu M, Steinmetz N, Reddy CB, Carandini M, Harris KD. Spontaneous behaviors drive multidimensional, brainwide activity. Science. 2019, 90:35-42

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