Donald A. Simone, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences


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.)

  • 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 Feb 22. pii: blood-2018-11-884346.
  • 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.
  • 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):5955-62.
  • Simone DA, Khasabov SG, Cain DM, Hamamoto DT, Khasabova IA. Changes in response properties of nociceptors and dorsal horn neurons in a murine model of cancer pain. Fiziol Zh. 2011;57(5):75-7.
  • Cain DM, Vang D, Simone DA, Hebbel RP, Gupta K. Mouse models for studying pain in sickle disease: effects of strain, age, and acuteness. Br J Haematol. 2012;156(4):535-44.
  • Brink TS, Pacharinsak C, Khasabov SG, Beitz AJ, Simone DA. Differential modulation of neurons in the rostral ventromedial medulla by neurokinin-1 receptors. J Neurophysiol. 2012;107(4):1210-21.

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