Donna L. Hammond, PhD


Professor of Anesthesia
Professor of Pharmacology

Contact Information

Primary Office: 218 CMAB
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-353-3646

Lab: 3000 ML
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-384-4481



BS, Biochemical Pharmacology, State University of New York at Buffalo
PhD, Pharmacology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Post Doctorate, Mayo Clinic
Post Doctorate, Mayo Clinic

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Biomedicine
Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

The overall goal of our research is to gain a better understanding of the neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neuropharmacology of the central nervous system pathways that convey pain, as well as the bulbospinal pathways that modulate the transmission of nociceptive information. Our studies emphasize a systems-level approach that uses many different methodologies in concert, including behavioral pharmacology in normal, transgenic or knockout animals, neuroanatomical tract tracing, immunocytochemical labeling of neurons, measurement of neurotransmitter release by push-pull perfusion or microdialysis, and electrophysiological recordings from neurons in slices of the spinal cord or brainstem. We are particularly interested in the role that inhibitory neurotransmitters, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or the endogenous opioid peptides, play in the modulation of nociceptive sensitivity at the level of the spinal cord and brainstem. Our early studies focused on how these neurotransmitter systems dictate responses to acute or transient nociception. More recent investigations have focused on the role of these neurotransmitters in the response of the central nervous system to peripheral injury and the occurrence of persistent pain in either the neonate or the adult. Our results indicate that persistent pain can lead to long-term changes in the pharmacology and physiology of both the afferent pathways that convey pain, as well as the efferent pathways that suppress pain. These changes have significant consequences for the ability of drugs to produce analgesia and for the body to invoke its own homeostatic mechanisms for the control of pain. The plasticity of central nervous system pathways in response to persistent neuropathic and inflammatory pain will continue to be a focus of our work in the future.

Center, Program and Institute Affiliations

Pain Research Program

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48