Hannah Moser

Ph.D. 2013

Thesis Title:

Characterization of itch-related behavior and physiology of trigeminothalamic tract neurons in rats, including the role of opioids

Current Position:

Research Scientist, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota

Past Position(s):

Behavioral Therapist

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

B.A., Biology: Neuroscience, Northwestern College, IA 2008

Major Advisor(s):

Glenn Giesler, Ph.D.


  • Moser HR, Giesler GJ Jr. Itch elicited by intradermal injection of serotonin, intracisternal injection of morphine, and their synergistic interactions in rats. Neuroscience. 2014;274:119-27.
  • Moser HR, Giesler GJ. Characterization of pruriceptive trigeminothalamic tract neurons in rats. J Neurophysiol. 2014;111(8):1574-1589.
  • Moser HR, Giesler GJ. Itch and analgesia resulting from intrathecal application of morphine: contrasting effects on different populations of trigeminothalamic tract neurons. J Neurosci. 2013;33:6093-6101.
  • Davidson S, Moser HR, Giesler GJ. Ascending pathways for itch. In: Carstens E, Akiyama T, editors. Itch: Mechanisms and Treatment. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2014. Chapter 22.Frontiers in Neuroscience.
  • Davidson S, Zhang X, Khasabov SG, Moser HR, Honda CN, Simone DA, Giesler GJ Jr. Pruriceptive spinothalamic tract neurons: Physiological properties and projection targets in the primate. J Neurophysiol. 2012;108(6):1711-1723.
  • McKee BL, Kelley AE, Moser HR, Andrzejewski ME. Operant learning requires NMDA-receptor activation in the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsomedial striatum, but not in the orbitofrontal cortex. Behav Neurosci., 2010;124:500-509.

Conferences Attended:

  • Society for Neuroscience - 2009, 2011
  • International Workshop for the Study of Itch - 2011

Committee Members:

  • Chris Honda - Chair
  • Don Simone
  • Martin Wessendorf
  • George Wilcox
  • Glenn Giesler - Advisor

Awards and Honors:

  • Morris Smithberg Memorial Prize - 2010
  • GPN/Milne-Brandenburg Award - 2011
  • Poppele Prize - 2011
  • Stark Award - 2011
  • Hermann Handwerker Prize for young itch researchers - 2011
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA - 2011

Research Description:

Our lab studies the transmission of itch and pain information within the central nervous system. I have been characterizing itch responses in thalamic-projecting neurons in the spinal trigeminal subnucleus caudalis of rats. Currently, I am examining the roles of opioid receptors in mediating responses to itch in the trigeminal system. I am also performing parallel experiments to determine effects of opioid drugs on scratching behavior in rats.

Lab Rotations:

  • Jonathan Gewirtz
  • Mark Thomas
  • Glenn Giesler

Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:

  • EEB 5332 - Evolution & Animal Cognition
  • NSC 8217 - Systems & Computational Neuroscience
  • NSC 5202 - Theoretical Neuroscience
  • NSC 8221 - Neurobiology of Pain & Analgesia

Home Town:

  • Humboldt, Iowa
Hannah Moser