The Somatosensory & Affective Neuroscience Group, LJMU

The skin senses are a truly multisensory modality, with specific populations of cutaneous receptors & afferent nerve fibres coding for touch, temperature, pain, itch and ‘pleasure’.

Our group’s research interests span across the whole somatosensory range, and also includes cross-modal interactions with the chemical senses of taste and smell. Our interdisciplinary studies focus on the neural mechanisms as well as the affective and cognitive consequences of painful and pleasant cutaneous sensations, in both healthy and clinical populations.

We record from single afferent nerves using microneurography and study their central projections and function with a range of techniques from behavioural tasks to ultra-high-field fMRI.

We have a particular interest in a population of low threshold mechanosensitive c-fibres named C-tactile (CT) afferents.  Only recently discovered in humans, they respond most strongly to ‘gentle stroking touch’ and are hypothesised to underpin the rewarding properties of tactile social interactions and to play a critical role in the developing social brain.

The group is based in the school of Natural Sciences & Psychology, at Liverpool John Moores University, and is a part of the Research Centre for Brain & Behaviour and the Liverpool Neuroscience Group.


Feel Better, Live More Podcast: Touch – The Forgotten Sense with Professor Francis McGlone

Since its launch in January 2018, Dr. Ranjan Chatterjee's ‘Feel Better, Live More’ podcast has grown rapidly to become the Number 1 health podcast in the UK. It regularly tops ...

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Stroking modulates noxious-evoked brain activity in human infants (Current Biology - 17/12/18)

Just published, and already making headlines, is our new open-access paper in Current Biology.

SomAffect's Francis McGlone and Susannah Walker (LJMU) have been working closely in collaboration with Rebecca Slater's lab (University of Oxford) on this study which shows that stroking touch ...

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Cortex - A touching Sight: EEG/ERP correlates for the vicarious processing of affectionate touch

Professor Francis McGlone, & SomAffect collaborator Professor Annett Schirmer have published a research report in Cortex  - titled: A touching Sight: EEG/ERP correlates for the vicarious processing of affectionate touch.The article is available online now, and SomAffect is able to grant open ...

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Professor Francis McGlone on Touch - BBC One Breakfast

LJMU Neuroscience Professor Francis McGlone discusses the importance & role of "touch" in schools on BBC One Breakfast, a national morning news programme. [19th February 2017]

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PTUK 2018 Conference: Keynote by Francis McGlone

SomAffect Professor Francis McGlone was invited to give a keynote speech at the PlayTherapy UK 2018 Conference - titled "The Neurological Basis of Affective Touch".

PTUK have made both the keynote, and an interview available online, below.
Interview: Keynote: 

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Research supported by:

Medical Research Council Logo The Levehulme Trust Logo Bial Foundation Logo
GSK Pain Relief Foundation Logo