Lucy Vulchanova, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience

E-MAIL: [email protected]

Advising Statement


Research Interests:


My research interests are focused on mechanisms of pain signaling. We are examining changes in sensory neurons that are induced by peripheral tissue damage and contribute to the development of persistent pain. One research program that is currently underway is focused on the neuropeptide precursor VGF. VGF peptides are involved in neuroplasticity, but their mechanisms of action are completely unknown. We found that VGF peptides participate in spinal pain mechanisms through activation of microglia, the resident macrophages of the nervous system. We are presently examining the signaling pathways that mediate the effects of VGF peptides and the potential role of these peptides in chronic pain. Other lines of investigation that we are involved in include neuro-keratinocyte interactions and their contribution to hypersensitivity, the development of viral vectors for targeting of proteins that participate in pain pathways, and neuro-immune interactions in the intestine.

Selected Publications:

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

  • Gore R, Esmail T, Pflepsen K, Marron Fernandez de Velasco E, Kitto KF, Riedl MS, Karlen A, McIvor RS, Honda CN, Fairbanks CA, Vulchanova L. AAV-mediated gene transfer to colon-innervating primary afferent neurons. Front Pain Res (Lausanne). 2023 Aug 4;4:1225246. 
  • Tyshynsky R, Sensarma S, Riedl M, Bukowy J, Schramm LP, Vulchanova L, Osborn JW. Periglomerular afferent innervation of the mouse renal cortex. 
  • Skorput AGJ, Gore R, Schorn R, Riedl MS, de Velasco EMF, Hadlich B, Kitto KF, Fairbanks CA, Vulchanova L. Targeting the nociceptive somatosensory system with AAV9 and AAV2 retroviral vectors. PLoS One. 2022 Mar 10;17(3):e0264938. Front Neurosci. 2023 Jan 26;17:974197. 
  • Pflepsen KR, Peterson CD, Kitto KF, Riedl MS, McIvor RS, Wilcox GL, Vulchanova L, Fairbanks CA. Biodistribution of adeno-associated virus serotype 5 viral vectors following intrathecal injection. Mol Pharm. 2021 Oct 4;18(10):3741-3749.
  • Osborn JW, Tyshynsky R, Vulchanova L. Function of renal nerves in kidney physiology and pathophysiology. Annu Rev Physiol. 2021;83:429-450.
  • Joukal M, Vulchanova L, Huffman C, Dubový P, Honda CN. Peripheral deltorphin II inhibits nociceptors following nerve injury. Front Pharmacol. 2020 Jul 31;11:1151.
  • Belur LR, Podetz-Pedersen KM, Tran TA, Mesick JA, Singh NM, Riedl M, Vulchanova L, Kozarsky KF, McIvor RS. Intravenous delivery for treatment of mucopolysaccharidosis type I: A comparison of AAV serotypes 9 and rh10. Mol Genet Metab Rep. 2020 May 20;24:100604.
  • Lyons CE, Razzoli M, Larson E, Svedberg D, Frontini A, Cinti S, Vulchanova L, Sanders M, Thomas M, Bartolomucci A. Optogenetic-induced sympathetic neuromodulation of brown adipose tissue thermogenesis. FASEB J. 2020 Feb;34(2):2765-2773..
  • Gore R, Reidl MS, Kitto K, Fairbanks CA, Vulchanova L. AAV-mediated gene delivery to the enteric nervous system. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1950:407-415.
  • Peterson CD, Skorput AGJ, Kitto KF, Wilcox GL, Vulchanova L, Fairbanks CA. AAV-mediated gene delivery to the spinal cord by intrathecal injection. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1950:199-207.
  • Pflepsen KR, Peterson CD, Kitto KF, Vulchanova L, Wilcox GL, Fairbanks CA. Detailed method for intrathecal delivery of gene therapeutics by direct lumbar puncture in mice. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1937:305-312.
  • Skorput AGJ, Zhang X, Waataja JJ, Peterson CD, Riedl MS, Kitto KF, Truong H, Huffman C, Salton SR, Fairbanks CA, Honda CN, Vulchanova L. Involvement of the VGF-derived peptide TLQP-62 in nerve injury-induced hypersensitivity and spinal neuroplasticity. Pain. 2018;159(9):1802-1813.
  • Doolen S, Cook J, Riedl M, Kitto K, Kohsaka S, Honda CN, Fairbanks CA, Taylor BK, Vulchanova L. Complement 3a receptor in dorsal horn microglia mediates pronociceptive neuropeptide signaling. Glia. 2017;65(12):1976-1989.
  • Peterson CD, Kitto KF, Akgün E, Lunzer MM, Riedl MS, Vulchanova L, Wilcox GL, Portoghese PS, Fairbanks CA. Bivalent ligand that activates mu opioid receptor and antagonizes mGluR5 receptor reduces neuropathic pain in mice. Pain. 2017;158(12):2431-2441.
  • Belur LR, Temme A, Podetz-Pedersen KM, Riedl M, Vulchanova L, Robinson N, Hanson LR, Kozarsky KF, Orchard PJ, Frey WH 2nd, Low WC, McIvor RS. Intranasal adeno-associated virus mediated gene delivery and expression of human iduronidase in the central nervous system: A noninvasive and effective approach for prevention of neurologic disease in mucopolysaccharidosis type I. Hum Gene Ther. 2017;28(7):576-587.
  • Lin WJ, Jiang C, Sadahiro M, Bozdagi O, Vulchanova L, Alberini CM, Salton SR. VGF and Its C-terminal peptide TLQP-62 regulate memory formation in hippocampus via a BDNF-TrkB-dependent mechanism. J Neurosci. 2015;35(28):10343-56.
  • Guedon JM, Wu S, Zheng X, Churchill CC, Glorioso JC, Liu CH, Liu S, Vulchanova L, Bekker A, Tao YX, Kinchington PR, Goins WF, Fairbanks CA, Hao S. Current gene therapy using viral vectors for chronic pain. Mol Pain. 2015 May 13;11:27.
  • Kashem SW, Riedl MS, Yao C, Honda CN, Vulchanova L, Kaplan DH. Nociceptive sensory fibers drive interleukin-23 production from CD301b(+) dermal dendritic cells and drive protective cutaneous immunity. Immunity, 43(3):515-26, 2015.
  • Cero C, Vostrikov VV, Verardi R, Severini C, Gopinath T, Braun PD, Sassano MF, Gurney A, Roth BL, Vulchanova L, Possenti R, Veglia G, Bartolomucci A. The TLQP-21 peptide activates the G-protein-coupled receptor C3aR1 via a folding-upon-binding mechanism. Structure. 2014;22(12):1744-53.
  • Schuster DJ, Belur LR, Riedl MS, Schnell SA, Podetz-Pedersen KM, Kitto KF, McIvor RS, Vulchanova L, Fairbanks CA. Supraspinal gene transfer by intrathecal adeno-associated virus serotype 5. Front Neuroanat. 2014 Aug 5;8:66.
  • Schuster DJ, Dykstra JA, Riedl MS, Kitto KF, Belur LR, McIvor RS, Elde RP, Fairbanks CA, Vulchanova L. Biodistribution of adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) vector after intrathecal and intravenous delivery in mouse. Front Neuroanat. 2014 Jun 10;8:42.
  • Fairbanks CA, Peterson CD, Speltz RH, Riedl MS, Kitto KF, Dykstra JA, Braun PD, Sadahiro M, Salton SR, Vulchanova L. The VGF-derived peptide TLQP-21 contributes to inflammatory and nerve injury-induced hypersensitivity. Pain. 2014;155(7):1229-37.

Current Graduate Students:

Roman Tyshynsky (Neuroscience, University of Minnesota)

Reshma Gore (Neuroscience, University of Minnesota)

Former Graduate Students:

Jennifer Cook (Ph.D. 2019, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).

Picture of Lucy Vulchanova