Donald A. Simone, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences

E-MAIL: [email protected]

Research Interests:

The general focus of our research is the study of anatomical, physiological, and pharmacological mechanisms underlying pain sensation. Primary research interests include neural encoding of cutaneous and muscle pain. We are interested particularly in the neural mechanisms that account for hyperalgesia (enhanced sensitivity to pain) following tissue injury or disease, and the modulation of excitability of sensory neurons involved in pain transmission. Psychophysical, behavioral, and electrophysiological techniques are used in parallel studies using animals and humans.

Selected Publications:

(For a comprehensive list of recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)

  • Rogness VM, Juliette J, Khasabova IA, Gupta K, Khasabov SG, Simone DA. Descending facilitation of nociceptive transmission from the rostral ventromedial medulla contributes to hyperalgesia in mice with sickle cell disease. Neuroscience. 2023 Aug 21;526:1-12. 
  • Khasabova IA, Seybold VS, Simone DA. The role of PPARγ in chemotherapy-evoked pain. Neurosci Lett. 2021 May 14;753:135845.
  • Khasabov SG, Rogness VM, Beeson MB, Vulchanova L, Yuan LL, Simone DA, Tran PV. The nAChR chaperone TMEM35a (NACHO) contributes to the development of hyperalgesia in mice. Neuroscience. 2021 Mar 1;457:74-87.
  • Uhelski ML, Bruce D, Speltz R, Wilcox G, Simone DA. Topical application of loperamide/oxymorphindole, mu and delta opioid receptor agonists, reduces sensitization of C-fiber nociceptors that possess NaV1.8. Neuroscience. 2020 Oct 15;446:102-112.
  • Speltz R, Lunzer MM, Shueb S, Akgun E, Reed R, Kalyuzhny A, Portoghese PS, Simone DA. The bivalent ligand, MMG22, reduces neuropathic pain after nerve injury without the side effects of traditional opioids. Pain. 2020;161:2041-2057.
  • Khasabov SG, Truong H, Rogness VM, Alloway KD, Simone DA, Giesler GJ. Responses of neurons in the primary somatosensory cortex to itch- and pain-producing stimuli in rats. J Neurophysiol. 2020 May 1;123(5):1944-1954.
  • Uhelski ML, McAdams B, Johns ME, Kabadi RA, Simone DA, Banik RK. Lack of relationship between epidermal denervation by capsaicin and incisional pain behaviors: a laser scanning confocal microscopy study in rats. Eur J Pain. 2020 Jul;24(6):1197-1208.
  • Uhelski ML, Simone DA. Sensitization of nociceptors and dorsal horn neurons contributes to pain in sickle cell disease. Neurosci Lett. 2019;705:20-26.
  • Khasabova IA, Uhelski M, Khasabov S, Gupta K, Seybold VS, Simone DA. Sensitization of nociceptors by prostaglandin E2-glycerol contributes to hyperalgesia in mice with sickle cell disease. Blood 2019;133:1989-1998.
  • Kaliappan S, Simone DA, Banik RK. Nonlinear inverted-U shaped relationship between aging and epidermal innervation in the rat plantar hind paw: a laser scanning confocal microscopy study. J Pain. 2018 Apr 13. pii: S1526-5900(18)30141-X.
  • Lipshetz B, Khasabov SG, Truong H, Netoff TI, Simone DA, Giesler GJ Jr. Responses of thalamic neurons to itch- and pain-producing stimuli in rats. J Neurophysiol. 2018 Sep 1;120(3):1119-1134.
  • Cataldo G, Lunzer MM, Olson JK, Akgün E, Belcher JD, Vercellotti GM, Portoghese PS, Simone DA. The bivalent ligand MCC22 potently attenuates nociception in a murine model of sickle cell disease. Pain. 2018 Mar 22; doi: 10.1097/j.
  • Khasabov SG, Malecha P, Noack J, Tabakov J, Giesler GJ Jr, Simone DA. Hyperalgesia and sensitization of dorsal horn neurons following activation of NK-1 receptors in the rostral ventromedial medulla. J Neurophysiol. 2017;118(5):2727-2744.
  • Uhelski ML, Gupta K, Simone DA. Sensitization of C-fiber nociceptors in mice with sickle cell disease is decreased by local inhibition of anandamide hydrolysis. Pain. 2017;158(9):1711-1722.
  • Khasabov SG, Wang JC, Simone DA, Strichartz GR. A role for neurokinin-1 receptor neurons in the rostral ventromedial medulla in the development of chronic postthoracotomy pain. Pain. 2017;158(7):1332-1341
  • Uhelski ML, Bruce DJ, Séguéla P, Wilcox GL, Simone DA. In vivo optogenetic activation of Nav1.8+ cutaneous nociceptors and their responses to natural stimuli. J Neurophysiol. 2017;117(6):2218-2223.
  • Khasabov SG, Chi-Fei Wang J, Simone DA, Strichartz GR. A role for nk-1 neurons in the rostral ventromedial medulla in the development of chronic post-thoracotomy pain. Pain. 2017 Apr 5. doi: 10.1097/j.
  • Matson DJ, Hamamoto DT, Bregman H, Cooke M, DiMauro  EF, Huang L, Johnson D, Li X, McDermott J, Morgan C, Wilenkin B, Malmberg AB, McDonough SI, Simone DA. Inhibition of inactive states of tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium channels reduces spontaneous firing of C-fiber nociceptors and produces analgesia in formalin andcomplete Freund's adjuvant models of pain. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 17;10(9):e0138140.
  • Cataldo G, Rajput S, Gupta K, Simone DA. Sensitization of nociceptive spinal neurons contributes to pain in a transgenic model of sickle cell disease. Pain. 2015;156(4):722-30.
  • Uhelski ML, Khasabova IA, Simone DA. Inhibition of anandamide hydrolysis attenuates nociceptor sensitization in a murine model of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. J Neurophysiol. 2015;113(5):1501-10.
  • Khasabov SG, Malecha P, Noack J, Tabakov J, Okamoto K, Bereiter DA, Simone DA. Activation of rostral ventromedial medulla neurons by noxious stimulation of cutaneous and deep craniofacial tissues. J Neurophysiol. 2015;113:14-22.
  • Khasabova IA, Yao X, Paz J, Lewandowski CT, Lindberg AE, Coicou L, Burlakova N, Simone DA, Seybold VS. JZL184 is anti-hyperalgesic in a murine model of cisplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy. Pharmacol Res. 2014;90:67-75.
  • de Carvalho Barbosa M, Kosturakis AK, Eng C, Wendelschafer-Crabb G, Kennedy WR, Simone DA, Wang XS, Cleeland CS, Dougherty PM. A quantitative sensory analysis of peripheral neuropathy in colorectal cancer and its exacerbation by oxaliplatin chemotherapy. Cancer Res. 2014;74(21):5955-5962.

Current Graduate Students:

Rebecca Speltz Paiz (Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).

Former Graduate Students:

Carl Potenzieri (Ph.D. 2009, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).

Lisa Johanek (Ph.D. 2004, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).

Donald Simone