Cheryl L. Stucky, PhD
Marvin Wagner Professor; Director, Neuroscience Doctoral Program
- Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy
Postdoctoral, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany
Dr. Stucky is the director of the Neuroscience Doctoral Program.
Interested in applying to the Neuroscience Doctoral Program?
Available Lab Positions
Postdoctoral Fellow Position to Study Pain and Touch (PDF)
Dr. Stucky was recently featured on Discovery Radio: Opioid Epidemic Update & Pain Research. Discover what researchers are learning about chronic pain and pain treatment.
Chronic pain affects approximately 100 million adults in the United States, costing around $635 billion and many patients are sub-optimally treated as a result of limited understanding of the mechanistic causes of the chronic pain. The Stucky Lab has made key contributions to the pain field’s understanding of how ion channels on pain-sensing neurons contribute to pain and touch sensation. We are known for the unique “skin-nerve” recording technique whereby sensory afferent responses from rodents are measured in their native skin environment. We were the first lab to demonstrate that the Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) channel is essential for detection of painful mechanical stimuli in normal, non-injured skin by using parallel genetic deletion and pharmacological inhibition of the TRPA1 channel. This work was published in the Journal of Neuroscience and Molecular Pain in 2009. Since that time, numerous publications have emerged that further build upon this work, including a widely-cited manuscript demonstrating that TRPA1 is responsible for the mechanical sensitization of pain receptors after tissue inflammation (Lennertz et al., 2012, PLoS ONE), and therefore, can serve as a target for inhibiting pain in many common inflammatory disorders.
An exciting current direction in our lab is identifying the mechanisms underlying the role of chronic pain in damaged skin, by examining the bidirectional signaling between keratinocytes and sensory neurons in normal and tissue-injured skin. While sensory neurons have long been known to mediate touch and pain transduction, epidermal keratinocytes are the initial “first responders” to tactile stimuli. We are dissecting the cellular mechanisms by which keratinocytes communicate with sensory nerve terminals, and conversely, the mechanisms by which sensory neurons communicate and sensitize keratinocytes during tissue injury. We are using multiple complementary pharmacological and cutting edge site-selective genetic approaches, such as optogenetic silencing, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and “cell sniffer” assays to interrogate the mechanistic direction and molecules underlying keratinocyte to sensory neuron signaling in vivo.
Another major area of focus is on translational models of chronic pain including inflammation, nerve injury and diseases associated with devastating pain, particularly in areas of unmet medical need. For example, patients with sickle cell disease have severe pain during red cell sickling crises and develop chronic underlying pain; effective treatments for this pain are lacking. We have made key discoveries in mechanisms that underlie the severe pain in sickle cell disease by performing parallel studies in mouse models of sickle cell disease and concomitantly measuring pain in patients with sickle cell disease (Hillery et al., 2011, Blood; Brandow et al., 2013, American Journal of Hematology; Zappia et al., 2014, Pain). Sickle cell disease is of particular interest because 1) it has aspects of chronic as well as acute pain, 2) the pain develops naturally as part of the underlying disease and therefore, may serve as a model for other naturally-occurring types of chronic pain in humans, and 3) parallel studies in the animal models and in patients with sickle cell disease can be conducted by the same laboratory.
Support for these projects
R01 NS40538; R01 NS070711; R21 NS095627-01; Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin
(Shin SM, Itson-Zoske B, Cai Y, Qiu C, Pan B, Stucky CL, Hogan QH, Yu H.) Mol Pain. 2020 Jan-Dec;16:1744806920925425 PMID: 32484015 PMCID: PMC7268132 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85085909943 06/03/2020
(Burand AJ Jr, Stucky CL.) Pain. 2020 Nov 30 PMID: 33259456 12/02/2020
(Sadler KE, Moehring F, Stucky CL.) Elife. 2020 07 30;9 PMID: 32729832 PMCID: PMC7402674 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85089162086 07/31/2020
(Farrell AT, Panepinto J, Carroll CP, Darbari DS, Desai AA, King AA, Adams RJ, Barber TD, Brandow AM, DeBaun MR, Donahue MJ, Gupta K, Hankins JS, Kameka M, Kirkham FJ, Luksenburg H, Miller S, Oneal PA, Rees DC, Setse R, Sheehan VA, Strouse J, Stucky CL, Werner EM, Wood JC, Zempsky WT.) Blood Adv. 2019 12 10;3(23):3982-4001 PMID: 31809538 PMCID: PMC6963237 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85076356716 12/07/2019
(Park SK, Gunaratne GS, Chulkov EG, Moehring F, McCusker P, Dosa PI, Chan JD, Stucky CL, Marchant JS.) J Biol Chem. 2019 12 06;294(49):18873-18880 PMID: 31653697 PMCID: PMC6901322 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85075816525 10/28/2019
(Sadler KE, Langer SN, Menzel AD, Moehring F, Erb AN, Brandow AM, Stucky CL.) Br J Haematol. 2019 10;187(2):246-260 PMID: 31247672 PMCID: PMC6786911 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85068153982 06/28/2019
(Sadler KE, Lewis TR, Waltz TB, Besharse JC, Stucky CL.) Pain Rep. 2019 Jul-Aug;4(4):e765 PMID: 31579856 PMCID: PMC6728004 10/04/2019
(Cowie AM, Menzel AD, O'Hara C, Lawlor MW, Stucky CL.) Pain. 2019 08;160(8):1794-1816 PMID: 31335648 PMCID: PMC6662742 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85069147648 07/25/2019
(Sadler KE, Stucky CL.) Blood. 2019 05 02;133(18):1924-1925 PMID: 31048303 SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85065494775 05/03/2019
(Donaldson LF, Stucky CL.) Current Opinion in Physiology. October 2019;11:iii-v SCOPUS ID: 2-s2.0-85076007755 10/01/2019
(Cowie AM, Dittel BN, Stucky CL.) Front Neurol. 2019;10:622 PMID: 31244767 PMCID: PMC6581722 06/28/2019
Awards, interviews & articles
- North American Pain School 2019: A Conversation With Visiting Faculty Member Cheryl Stucky
- Javits Neuroscience Award (PDF)
- The Quest to Ease the Pain of Sickle Cell Disease article
- Women’s History Month
- International Innovation (PDF)
- 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