Franziska Denk, Group Leader

In our research, we explore the potential link between epigenetic mechanisms and the development of chronic pain. Does epigenetics make certain individuals more vulnerable to pain or prolong their pain?

To address these questions, the lab uses transgenic models and high-throughput molecular analyses, such as RNA-seq and ChIP-seq, on sorted cell populations.

Academic Background

2009- 2017: Postdoctoral research with Prof Stephen McMahon (King's College London)  

2005 - 2009: Wellcome-Trust funded DPhil in Neuroscience (Supervisor: Prof Richard Wade-Martins, University of Oxford)

2004 - 2005: MSc in Neuroscience (New College, University of Oxford)

2001 - 2004: BA in Experimental Psychology (St. Hilda's College, University Oxford)


Dongchan Choi, PhD student

I am working to optimize in vivo gene editing of sensory neurons.

For this I’m using virally-delivered CRISPR-Cas9 and a variety of techniques like in vitro electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry and molecular cloning.

Academic Background

2012-2017: MSc in Pharmacology (University College London)


Sara Buskbjerg Jager, Postdoc Fellow

I work with satellite glial cells which together with Schwann cells support primary sensory neurons.

Currently, my focus is on developing new tools for in vivo analysis of satellite glial cell function in both health and disease. My research is funded by the IMK Almene fond and Lundbeck Foundation.

Academic Background

2015-2018: PhD at Aarhus University, Denmark (Supervisor: Christian B. Vægter)

2012-2015: MSc in Molecular Medicine (Aarhus University)

2009-2012: BSc in Molecular Medicine (Aarhus University)


Zoe Hore, PhD student

I currently work on a variety of projects, with particular focus on investigating the role of early life inflammation on subsequent pain perception. 

Academic Background

2010-2013: BSc in Zoology (University of Newcastle)


Zhi Liang, Postdoc

I work on an EU-funded private-public partnership in collaboration with Prof Stephen McMahon and other European laboratories. 

My particular focus is on dissecting the interaction of sensory neurons with other immune and supporting cell types present in sensory ganglia. 

For this I use cell sorting and calcium imaging. 

Academic Background

2007-2012: PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Edinburgh (Supervisors: Prof Mike Shipston, Dr Iain Rowe)

2006-2007: MSc in Neuroscience (University of Edinburgh)

2002-2006: BSc in Biotechnology (University of Nankai, China)


Sara Villa, Postdoc

My work is focused on the study of neuronal enhancers in the sensory nervous system. 

For this, I'm using different sequencing technologies after sorting neurons from dorsal root ganglion and spinal cord. 

Academic Background

2017-2018: Postdoc at LMB-MRC, Cambridge University (PI: Joe Yeeles)

2012-2017: PhD at the Institute of Functional Biology and Genomics, Salamanca & the Centre for Biological Research, Madrid (Supervisor: Prof Rodrigo Bermejo)

2011-2012: MSc in Cancer Biology and Clinics (Cancer Research Centre, Salamanca, Spain)

2005-2011: BSc in Biology (University of Salamanca, Spain)