Clinic for Neurology
Prof. Dr.


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Sven Benson is Associate Professor at the Medical Faculty, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. After completing his studies in psychology at the University of Trier, he received his PhD from the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2008 and his habilitation in 2013.


My research interests primarily focus on systemic inflammation and pain. Using experimental endotoxemia, we investigate the interaction between pain and negative emotions in the context of systemic inflammation. In addition, we analyze the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of placebo analgesia and nocebo hyperalgesia.

Selected publications

Benson S, Engler H, Wegner A, Schedlowski M, Elsenbruch S (2020). Elucidating vulnerability to inflammation-induced hyperalgesia: Predictors of increased musculoskeletal pain sensitivity during experimental endotoxemia. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 88: 302-307.

Benson S, Rebernik L, Pastoors D, Brinkhoff A, Wegner A, Elsenbruch S, Engler H (2020). Impact of acute inflammation on the extinction of aversive gut memories. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 88: 294-301.

Lasselin J, Lekander M, Benson S, Schedlowski M, Engler H (2020). Sick for Science: Experimental endotoxemia as a translational tool to develop and test new therapies for inflammation-associated depression. Molecular Psychiatry. Accepted for publication.

Benson S, Hagen S, Hoffmann O, Pasler A, Bingel U, Schedlowski M, Peters J, Elsenbruch S, Frey UH (2019). Can a brief psychological expectancy intervention improve postoperative pain? A randomized, controlled trial in breast cancer patients. Pain. 160: 1562-1571

Benson S, Engler H, Wegner A, Rebernik L, Spreitzer I, Schedlowski M, Elsenbruch S (2017). What makes you feel sick after inflammation? Predictors of acute and persisting physical sickness symptoms induced by experimental endotoxemia. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 102: 141-151.

Engler H, Brendt P, Wischermann J, Wegner A, Röhling R, Schoemberg T, Meyer U, Gold R, Peters P, Benson S, Schedlowski M (2017). Selective increase of cerebrospinal fluid IL-6 during experimental endotoxemia in humans: association with depressive symptoms. MolPsychiatr. 22: 1448-1454.

Benson S, Rebernik L, Wegner A, Kleine-Borgmann J, Engler H, Schlamann M, Forsting M, Schedlowski M, Elsenbruch S (2015). Neural circuitry mediating inflammation-induced central pain amplification in human experimental endotoxemia. Brain Behav Immun. 48:222-231.

Wegner A, Elsenbruch S, Maluck J, Grigoleit JS, Engler H, Jäger M, Spreitzer I, Schedlowski M, Benson S (2014). Inflammation induced hyperalgesia: Effects of timing, dosage, and negative affect on somatic pain sensitivity in human experimental endotoxemia. Brain Behav Immun. 41:46-54.


About us

The Institute of Medical Psychology was founded in 1978 and is one of the pre-clinical Departments of the Essen University Hospital.


  • Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Immunobiology
    University Hospital Essen
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    45122 Essen


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