Prof. Dr. Markus Ploner


Human Pain Research

Academic Career and Research Areas

Professor Ploner aims to understand how the human brain generates the experience of pain. To this end, his research group performs complex time-frequency and connectivity analyses of brain activity recorded by using electroencephalography. Moreover, they use non-invasive brain stimulation andn neurofeedback techniques to modulate pain. The objective of this work is to elucidate the brain mechanisms of pain in health and disease with the ultimate goal of optimizing the diagnosis and therapy of chronic pain. 

Professor Ploner studied medicine at the Universities of Cologne and Vienna and completed his doctorate at the University of Cologne. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher and trained as a neurologist at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. In 2007/2008 he was a Feodor Lynen Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the University of Oxford. Since 2007, he has been head of a research group and a consultant of Neurology at the Department of Neurology at TUM. Since 2014, he has been a Professor of Human Pain Research at TUM. 


  • Richard Jung Award, German Society for Clinical Neurophysiology and Functional Imaging (2018)
  • Heisenberg Professorship, German Research Foundation DFG – Renewal (2017)
  • Heisenberg Professorship, German Research Foundation DFG (2013)
  • Research award for pain research, German Society for the Study of Pain (2011)
  • EFIC Grünenthal Grant, European Association for the Study of Pain (2007)

May ES, Hohn VD, Nickel MM, Tiemann L, Gil Ávila C, Heitmann H, Sauseng P, Ploner M: “Modulating brain rhythms of pain using transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) - A sham-controlled study in healthy human participants”. J Pain. 2021; S1526-5900(21): 00191-7.


Ta Dinh S, Nickel MM, Tiemann L, May ES, Heitmann H, Hohn VD, Edenharter G, Utpadel-Fischler D, Tölle TR, Sauseng P, Gross J, Ploner M: “Brain dysfunction in chronic pain patients assessed by resting-state electroencephalography”. Pain. 2019; 160(12): 2751-2765.


Tiemann L, Hohn VD, Ta Dinh S, May ES, Nickel MM, Gross J, Ploner M: “Distinct patterns of brain activity mediate perceptual and motor and autonomic responses to noxious stimuli”. Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1): 4487.


Ploner M, Sorg C, Gross J: “Brain rhythms of pain“. Trends Cogn Sci. 2017; 21(2): 100-110. 


Gross J, Schnitzler A, Timmermann L, Ploner M: "Gamma oscillations in human primary somatosensory cortex reflect pain perception". PloS Biol. 2007; 5(5): e133.