Glenn J. Jr. Giesler, PhD

Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Glenn J. Jr. Giesler

Contact Info

giesler@umn.edu

Office Phone 612-624-3984

Office Address:
4-118 NHH

Lab Address:
2-260 NHH

Research

Research Summary/Interests

Somatic sensory processing, pain

Our laboratory’s major research interest is in determining the neural mechanisms responsible for conveying information about both painful and itch-producing stimuli from the spinal cord to the brain and ultimately to consciousness. Recent studies including our own indicate primary afferent neurons as well as spinal cord neurons that transmit information about itch to the brain also convey information about pain. These findings have led to an important question: what is it about these neurons that allows them to transmit information upon which two very different sensations depend? We are currently beginning to examine the responses of single thalamic and cortical neurons to both itch- and pain-producing stimuli. Itch-responsive neurons have not been examined in either of these areas of the CNS. We have also been interested in understanding the neural mechanisms that underlie the ability of scratching to relieve itch. We have found that responses to itch-producing, but not pain-producing, stimuli by spinal cord neurons that send axons to the thalamus are reduced by scratching, suggesting that scratching activates inhibitory circuits in the spinal cord to block responses to itch.

Publications

For a list of publications, see PubMed.

Teaching

Courses

NSC 6112: Medical Neuroscience