Visiting Scholars' Program

The Visiting Scholars’ Program is a free monthly event providing the perfect opportunity to hear from national and international experts in the field of pain. See who we have been previously privileged to have speak as part of this program here.

These events are held in the Kolling Building at Royal North Shore Hospital in St Leonards, Sydney.


This is a free event open to anyone with an interest in learning about pain.

2019 Calendar
















Teach the T cells: Learned Immunosuppressive Placebo Responses

Presenter Professor Manfred Schedlowski
Date Wednesday 27th March 2019
Time 4.30-5.30pm
Venue Auditorium, Level 5, Kolling Building, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards
Prof. Manfred Schedlowski.


Professor Manfred Schedlowski is Professor and Director of the Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Immunobiology at the Medical Faculty, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany since 1997, interrupted by a research stay as Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Immunobiology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland (2004-2007). He obtained his degree in Psychology and his PhD at the Department of Medical Psychology, Hannover Medical School, Germany. Manfred’s current primary focus of research is the neurobiology of placebo and nocebo responses, in particular the mechanisms and clinical relevance of behavioral or Pavlovian conditioning of immune and neuroendocrine functions.


Akin to other physiological responses, immune functions can be modified in humans through associative conditioning procedures as part of learned placebo responses. The potential clinical applicability of learned immunosuppressive responses has been convincingly demonstrated in rodents, where conditioned immune responses significantly reduced the mortality in animals with inflammatory autoimmune disease, significantly reduced allergic responses or prolonged the survival time of transplanted vascularized organs. In an established taste-immune learning paradigm in rodents and humans, the calcineurin-inhibitor and immunosuppressant cyclosporine A (CsA) as an unconditioned stimulus (US) is paired with a gustatory stimulus as a conditioned stimulus (CS) during acquisition. Subjects are re-exposed to the CS during evocation, inducing immunosuppressive responses similar to the drug effects. However, it is unclear so far, whether learned immune responses can be produced in patient populations already on immunosuppressive regimen. In a recent study, we demonstrated in renal transplant patients who were already on immunosuppressive treatment, that learned immunosuppressive placebo responses increased efficacy of immunosuppressive medication reflected by significant reduction of T cell proliferative capacity. These data demonstrate, that behavioral conditioning of drug responses may be a promising tool that could be used as a placebo-based dose reduction strategy in ongoing immunopharmacological regimen the aim being to limit unwanted drug side effects and to improve treatment efficacy.