An Interdisciplinary Symposium


PASCOM at the Interdisciplinary Symposium (Health and Phenomenology) at OXFORD UNIVERSITY, Torch Research Center

“On the 27th & 28th March, the Oxford Phenomenology Network hosted this inaugural conference at the Oxford Research Centre in The Humanities, bringing together a wide array of disciplines for a fascinating exchange of ideas, research, and critique within the context of medical and phenomenological studies in health. Its mission statement was to “explore the interrelations between phenomenology and health from a wide variety of perspectives” (event organisers Cleo Hanaway-Oakley and Erin Lafford; see Cleo’s post on the Life of Breath blog, ‘To breath is all that is required‘). This was certainly achieved, via talks on subjects from philosophical, medical, literary and scientific perspectives including the phenomenology of mental health; of disability; of motherhood; in literature; of living and dying; of breast cancer; in medical encounters, and many more. “

“Most of the talks were relevant to our project remit by virtue of the focus on phenomenology and health. However, some themes stood out, including link between chronic pain and breathlessness that runs through several previous posts (see, for example, Breathless in Cambridge and Signal Failure? Thinking outside the lung). Indeed, the conference provided refreshing opportunities to see how phenomenological insights have guided research. This was shown in Smadar Bustan and Sandra Kamping’s paper on combining phenomenology and experimental pain research. It reminded me of how models such as ‘total pain’ have been used to create analogous ‘total dyspnoea’ models, and how these alternative models incorporate a fuller picture of the impact of pain and suffering on the whole embodied and socially-situated person, rather than focusing on symptoms.”

Breathless in Oxford


Dr. Martin Diers

Martin Diers is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Department of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, Central Institute of Mental Health Medical Faculty Mannheim, University Heidelberg. He holds a PhD in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience from the Medical Faculty Mannheim, University Heidelberg obtained in June 2006. In 2011 he won the first price of the young investigator Award for Pain research of the Janssen-Cilag GmbH, was nominated for Best Poster Presentation of the 7th Congress of the European Federation of IASP® Chapters (EFIC®) and was elected scholar of the European Pain School (IBRO summer school) held in Siena in June. In 2012, he won the Early Career Research Grant offered by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP®) and was elected for the IBRO Alumni Symposium at the FENS Forum. His scientific interests focus on psychobiological mecanisms in chronic musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain. To study these phenomena, he combines different techniques including EEG, fMRI and PET.

Book Project: What is pain; Is pain real?

{Co-writing with Dr. Finn Nortvedt}

Prof. Kenneth Craig

Prof. Kenneth Craig’s research focuses upon pain assessment, nonverbal communication, socialization of individual differences in pain experience and expression, social parameters of care delivery and pain in infants, children and people with communication limitations. This is published in better than 200 articles in scholarly journals, volumes and books. His current research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. At the University of British Columbia, he has served as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Director of the Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology. He presently the Chair of the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board. His Honours have included The Canada Council I. W. Killam Research Fellowship, a research career award as a CIHR Senior Investigator, the Canadian Pain Society Distinguished Career Award, the Canadian Psychological Association Donald O. Hebb Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as well as Science and the American Pain Society Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Children’s Pain Relief. He has served as President of the Canadian Pain Society and the Canadian Psychological Association. At present, he is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the UBC Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. He is Editor-in-Chief of Pain Research & Management, the journal of the Canadian Pain Society.

Website: Dr. Kenneth Craig

Book Project: Can pain and suffering be measured?

{Co-writing with Sascha Benjamin Fink }

Prof. Fernand Anton

Dr. Fernand Anton is a Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Luxembourg where he directs both the animal and the human pain research laboratories. He received a PhD degree in psychology from the University of Innsbruck in 1983 and subsequently spent postdoctoral periods at the Physiology Department of the University of Heidelberg and at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). After that he was a research associate at the Physiology Department of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, where he received his habilitation in 1994. His domain of expertise is the neurophysiology of nociceptive processing and the measurement of pain in animals and in humans. His group is interested in the impact of stress and altered stress hormone levels (adrenocortical reactivity) on the development and maintenance of enhanced pain sensitivity. For this purpose, the laboratory combines neurobiological (electrophysiology, immunocytochemistry, ELISA, PCR, western blotting) and behavioral experiments in rats, in addition to psychophysical/psychophysiological studies in healthy volunteers and in patients. Other psychophysiological research activities are devoted to endogenous pain control systems. In this domain, we primarily focus on the impact of psychological processes including classical conditioning, expectations, placebo etc. Prof. Anton has regularly been a reviewer for several scientific journals and in 2012 has been appointed to the editorial board of ISRN Pain.

Link to the research unit website: FLSHASE/INSIDE

Workshop 2009: Link to the video