Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy

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Cheryl L. Stucky, PhD
Director, Neuroscience Doctoral Program

Neuroscience Doctoral Program Web site

Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy
Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509

Phone: (414) 955-8373
FAX: (414) 955-6517

email: cstucky@mcw.edu

curriculum vitae

List of publications

Postdoctoral Positions

Recent interviews:

PhD, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1995
Postdoctoral, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany

Graduate Programs:
Director of Neuroscience Doctoral Program
Program in Cell and Developmental Biology

Research Area: Molecules that sense touch and pain

In virtually all of our daily activities, we rely on our skin and nervous system to interact with the world around us. Our laboratory is keenly interested in how our skin sensory neurons detect environmental stimuli, such as tactile pressure, cold and heat, and painful stimuli. The best candidate proteins for transduction of physical stimuli are members of the Transient Receptor Potential ion channel family. For example, we recently showed that the Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin 8 (TRPM8), the receptor activated by menthol and peppermint, is a key receptor that detects cool and painfully cold stimuli (Bautista et al., 2007, Nature).

A major current challenge in sensory neurobiology is to identify the molecules that allow us to sense mechanical stimuli (from light touch to painful pressure). Our laboratory recently determined that the Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) receptor is required for pain-sensing neurons in the skin to detect painful pressure. We use a unique “skin-nerve” experimental technique, whereby we can record and quantify the responses of single skin sensory neurons to natural stimuli like mechanical pressure. We combined this technique with a transgenic mouse that lacks the TRPA1 channel to demonstrate that TRPA1 is critically required for pain receptors to respond to force (Kwan et al., 2009, Journal of Neuroscience). In parallel, we showed that a chemical blocker of the TRPA1 channel inhibits mechanical responses in pain-sensing neurons from wild type mice (Kerstein et al., 2009, Molecular Pain). On a cellular level, we use patch clamp recordings of single neurons to determine the contribution of TRPA1 to mechanical currents in the plasma membrane (Vilceanu and Stucky, PLoS ONE, in press).

We are now using these techniques, transgenic mice and pharmacological blockers in translational studies to determine whether the TRPA1 channel is responsible for touch-evoked pain in several mouse models of chronic pain. These models include mice with severe sickle cell disease, neuropathic (nerve injury) pain, and cancer tumor pain. Over 50% of people suffer from chronic pain at some point in life, and chronic pain is the most common reason people go to a doctor for a problem. Our hope is that our studies will provide evidence for the clinical utility of TRPA1 blockers in human patients with chronic touch-induced pain.


Stucky Lab
Cheryl Stucky, Crystal O'Hara, Andy Weyer, Sheldon Garrison, Kate Zappia & Amanda Smith
(Francie Moehring - not pictured)

Lab Alumni:

Marie Barabas, PhD

Sheldon Garrison, PhD

Josh Glazer, MD

Pat Kerstein

Richard C. Lennertz, MD, PhD

Daniel Vilceanu, MD, PhD (Internship: Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Anesthesiology)


Honors and Awards:

Standing Ovation Award for 2008 from MCW Medical Students for teaching Medical Neuroscience 


Bethel College Young Alumni Award for 2004


John C. Liebeskind Early Career Scholar Award for 2002 for outstanding accomplishments in pain scholarship

Recent Publications:

A gain-of-function voltage-gated sodium channel 1.8 mutation drives intense hyperexcitability of A- and C-fiber neurons. Garrison SR, Weyer AD, Barabas ME, Beutler BA, Stucky CL. Pain. 2014 Jan 18. pii: S0304-3959(14)00020-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2014.01.012.


Mechanical sensitization of cutaneous sensory fibers in the spared nerve injury mouse model. Smith AK, O'Hara CL, Stucky CL. Mol Pain. 2013 Nov 29;9:61. doi: 10.1186/1744-8069-9-61.


A 'toothache tree' alkylamide inhibits Aδ mechanonociceptors to alleviate mechanical pain. Tsunozaki M, Lennertz RC, Vilceanu D, Katta S, Stucky CL, Bautista DM. J Physiol. 2013 Jul 1;591(Pt 13):3325-40. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.252106. Epub 2013 May 7.


TRPV1, but not TRPA1, in primary sensory neurons contributes to cutaneous incision-mediated hypersensitivity. Barabas ME, Stucky CL.
Mol Pain. 2013 Mar 4;9:9. doi: 10.1186/1744-8069-9-9.


TRPA1 Is Functionally Expressed Primarily by IB4-Binding, Non-Peptidergic Mouse and Rat Sensory Neurons. Barabas ME, Kossyreva EA, Stucky CL. PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47988. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047988. Epub 2012 Oct 25.


Sickle cell mice exhibit mechanical allodynia and enhanced responsiveness in light touch cutaneous mechanoreceptors. Garrison SR, Kramer AA, Gerges NZ, Hillery CA, Stucky CL. Mol Pain. 2012 Sep 10;8:62. doi: 10.1186/1744-8069-8-62.


TRPA1 mediates mechanical sensitization in nociceptors during inflammation. Lennertz RC, Kossyreva EA, Smith AK, Stucky CL. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43597. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043597. Epub 2012 Aug 23.


TRPC1 contributes to light-touch sensation and mechanical responses in low-threshold cutaneous sensory neurons. Garrison SR, Dietrich A, Stucky CL. J Neurophysiol. 2012 Feb;107(3):913-22. Epub 2011 Nov 9.


Garrison SR, Dietrich A, Stucky CL. TRPC1 contributes to light-touch sensation and mechanical responses in low-threshold cutaneous sensory neurons. J Neurophysiol. 2011 Nov 9.


Hillery CA, Kerstein PC, Vilceanu D, Barabas ME, Retherford D, Brandow AM, Wandersee NJ, Stucky CL. Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 mediates pain in mice with severe sickle cell disease.  Blood. 2011 Sep 22;118(12):3376-83. Epub 2011 Jun 27.


Lennertz RC, Medler KA, Bain JL, Wright DE, Stucky CL. Impaired sensory nerve function and axon morphology in mice with diabetic neuropathy. J Neurophysiol. 2011 Aug;106(2):905-14. Epub 2011 Jun 8.


Garrison SL, Stucky CL. The Dynamic TRPA1 Channel: A Suitable Pharmacological Pain Target? Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2011 Apr 5.


Vilceanu D and Stucky CL. TRPA1 mediates mechanical currents in the plasma membrane of mouse sensory neurons. PLoS One. 2010 Aug 16;5(8):e12177.


Lennertz RC, Tsunozaki M, Bautista DM, Stucky CL. Physiological basis of tingling paresthesia evoked by hydroxy-alpha-sanshool.
J Neurosci. 2010 Mar 24;30(12):4353-61.


Vilceanu D, Honore P, Hogan QH, Stucky CL. Spinal nerve ligation in mouse upregulates TRPV1 heat function in injured IB4-positive nociceptors.  J Pain. 2010 Jun;11(6):588-99. Epub 2009 Dec 16.


Kerstein PC, del Camino D, Moran MM, Stucky CL. Pharmacological blockade of TRPA1 inhibits mechanical firing in nociceptors.
Mol Pain. 2009 Apr 21;5:19


Kwan KY, Glazer JM, Corey DP, Rice FL, Stucky CL. TRPA1 modulates mechanotransduction in cutaneous sensory neurons.
J Neurosci. 2009 Apr 15;29(15):4808-19.


Stucky CL, Dubin AE, Jeske NA, Malin SA, McKemy DD, Story GM. Roles of transient receptor potential channels in pain.
Brain Res Rev. 2009 Apr;60(1):2-23.


Rigaud M, Gemes G, Barabas ME, Chernoff DI, Abram SE, Stucky CL, Hogan QH.  Species and strain differences in rodent sciatic nerve anatomy: implications for studies of neuropathic pain. Pain. 2008 May;136(1-2):188-201.


Khasabova IA, Stucky CL, Harding-Rose C, Eikmeier L, Beitz AJ, Coicou LG, Hanson AE, Simone DA and Seybold VS: Chemical Interactions between Fibrosarcoma Cancer Cells and Sensory Neurons Contribute to Cancer Pain. J Neurosci 27:10289-98, 2007.


Bautista DM, Siemens J, Glazer JM, Tsuruda PR, Basbaum AI, Stucky CL, Jordt SE, Julius D: The menthol receptor TRPM8 is the principal detector of environmental cold. Nature 448:147-8, 2007.

Supplimentary Information for published manuscripts

Garrison & Stucky 2014 


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Page Updated 12/30/2014