TUM – Technical University of Munich Menü

Prof. Dr. Markus Ploner


Human Pain Research

Academic Career and Research Areas

Professor Ploner works on the representation of pain in the human brain. His research group uses electroencephalography and non-invasive brain stimulation and performs complex time-frequency and connectivity analyses of brain activity. The objective of his 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 Heisenberg 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)

Key Publications (all publications)

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. 


Schulz E, May ES, Postorino M, Tiemann L, Nickel MM, Witkovsky V, Schmidt P, Gross J, Ploner M: "Prefrontal Gamma Oscillations Encode Tonic Pain in Humans“. Cereb Cortex. 2015; 25(11): 4407-14.


Ploner M, Lee MC, Wiech K, Bingel U, Tracey I: "Prestimulus functional connectivity determines pain perception in humans". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2010; 107(1): 355-360.


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