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Neuroscience Homepage  > Faculty List > Giesler
Glenn J. Giesler, Jr., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Neuroscience  
Somatic sensory processing, pain.

 Our laboratory's major interest is in determining the neural mechanisms responsible for conveying information about painful stimuli from the spinal cord to the brain. We have studied several pathways, including the spinothalamic and postsynaptic dorsal column systems. Recently we have concentrated on the large number of spinal cord neurons that we have discovered project directly to the hypothalamus and limbic system. Our working hypothesis is that these projections to areas of the brain that are known to control emotion and mood are the neural substrate for the suffering that is produced by chronic pain.

In our studies, we use several techniques. Physiologically, we examine the responses of individual neurons that form these projections to painful stimulation of the skin and viscera. In addition, we use a number of anterograde and retrograde tracing techniques to examine these projections and immunocytochemical techniques to determine the neurotransmitters that may be involved.
Selected Publications
Davidson S. and Giesler G.J. (2010)
The multiple pathways for itch and their interactions with pain.
Trends Neurosci. 33(12): 550-58
Duvick L., Barnes J., Ebner B., Agrawal S., Andresen M., Lim J., Giesler G.J., Zoghbi H.Y. and Orr H.T. (2010)
SCA1-like disease in mice expressing wild-type ataxin-1 with a serine to aspartic acid replacement at residue 776.
Neuron 67(6): 929-35
Davidson S., Truong H. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2010)
Quantitative analysis of spinothalamic tract neurons in adult and developing mouse.
J. Comp. Neurol. 518(16): 3193-204
Anderson G.R., Cao Y., Davidson S., Truong H.V., Pravetoni M., Thomas M.J., Wickman K., Giesler G.J. Jr. and Martemyanov K.A. (2010)
R7BP complexes with RGS9-2 and RGS7 in the striatum differentially control motor learning and locomotor responses to cocaine.
Neuropsychopharmacology 35(4): 1040-50
Davidson S., Truong H., Nakagawa Y. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2010)
A microinjection technique for targeting regions of embryonic and neonatal mouse brain in vivo.
Brain Res. 1307: 43-52
Davidson S., Zhang X., Khasabov S.G., Simone D.A. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2009)
Relief of itch by scratching: state-dependent inhibition of primate spinothalamic tract neurons.
Nat. Neurosci. 12(5): 544-46
Davidson S., Zhang X., Khasabov S.G., Simone D.A. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2008)
Termination zones of functionally characterized spinothalamic tract neurons within the primate posterior thalamus.
J. Neurophysiol. 100(4): 2026-37
Davidson S., Zhang X., Yoon C.H., Khasabov S.G., Simone D.A. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2007)
The itch-producing agents histamine and cowhage activate separate populations of primate spinothalamic tract neurons.
J. Neurosci. 27(37): 10007-14
Zhang X., Davidson S. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2006)
Thermally identified subgroups of marginal zone neurons project to distinct regions of the ventral posterior lateral nucleus in rats.
J. Neurosci. 26(19): 5215-23
Zhang X. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2005)
Response characterstics of spinothalamic tract neurons that project to the posterior thalamus in rats.
J. Neurophysiol. 93(5): 2552-64
Simone D.A., Zhang X., Li J., Zhang J.M., Honda C.N., LaMotte R.H. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2004)
Comparison of responses of primate spinothalamic tract neurons to pruritic and algogenic stimuli.
J. Neurophysiol. 91(1): 213-22
Truong H., McGinnis L., Dindo .L, Honda C.N. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2004)
Identification of dorsal root ganglion neurons that innervate the common bile duct of rats.
Exp. Brain Res. 155(4): 477-84
Willis W.D. Jr., Zhang X., Honda C.N. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2002)
A critical review of the role of the proposed VMpo nucleus in pain.
J. Pain 23(2): 79-94
Zhang X., Gokin A.P. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2002)
Responses of spinohypothalamic tract neurons in the thoracic spinal cord of rats to somatic stimuli and to graded distention of the bile duct.
Somatosens. Mot. Res. 19(1): 5-17
Willis W.D. Jr., Zhang X., Honda C.N. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2001)
Projections from the marginal zone and deep dorsal horn to the ventrobasal nuclei of the primate thalamus.
Pain 92(1-2): 267-76
Zhang X., Honda C.N. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2000)
Position of spinothalamic tract axons in upper cervical spinal cord of monkeys.
J. Neurophysiol. 84(3): 1180-85
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