Donald A. Simone, PhD

Professor, Department Chair, Division Director, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences

Donald A. Simone

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-625-6464

Fax 612-626-2651

Office Address:
17-252 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine (Neurophysiology), 1984-1988

PhD, City University of New York (Neuropsychology), 1985

BS, Northeastern University (Psychology), 1977


Dr. Donald A. Simone is Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota. He also holds appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry. Dr. Simone earned a Ph.D. degree from the City University of New York with emphasis on behavioral pharmacology, and completed post-doctoral training in psychophysics and neurophysiology from the Department of Anesthesiology at Yale Medical School.

Dr. Simone's primary interest is the neural encoding of pain and hyperalgesia. He compares behavioral and psychophysical measures of sensation to elelctrophysiological responses of single neurons located in peripheral nerve or spinal cord. He is currently using this combined behavioral/physiological approach to study the mechanisms by which cancer cells interact with neurons to produce pain. Dr. Simone also studies pharmacological modulation of pain using similar approaches. He is presently investigating how cannabinoids diminish pain and hyperalgesia with particular emphasis on the peripheral nervous system. Dr. Simone is also interested in the use of sensory testing for the detection of peripheral neuropathy in humans. He is currently developing new and sensitive sensory tests so that neuropathy can be detected in early stages of disease.

Awards & Recognition

  • National Research Service Award: Post-doctoral Fellowship, 1985 Title: Neural Mechanisms of Cutaneous Hyperalgesia
  • Sigma Xi, member, 1982
  • Northeastern University - University and Departmental Honors, 1977

Professional Associations

Leadership Roles

2014-Current Professor and Chair
Dept. of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences
University of Minnesota School of Dentistry
Minneapolis, MN 5545

2005-2014 Professor and Interim Chair
Dept. of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences
University of Minnesota School of Dentistry
Minneapolis, MN 5545

2001-2005 Associate Professor and Interim Chair
Dept. of Oral Sciences
University of Minnesota School of Dentistry
Minneapolis, MN 55455

1997-2001 Associate Professor
Dept. of Psychiatry
University of Minnesota Medical School
Minneapolis, MN 55455

1992-1997 Assistant Professor
Dept. of P


Research Summary/Interests

Neural encoding of pain and hyperalgesia; Pain transmission: peripheral nerve and spinal cord; Chronic pain mechanisms; Cannabinoids and pain


For a list of publications, see PubMed.

  • Johanek, L.J. and Simone, D.A. The cannabinoid agonist, CP55,940, prevents capsaicin-induced sensitization of spinal cord dorsal horn neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology, 93(2):989-997, 2005.
  • Khasabov, S.G., Ghilardi, J.D., Mantyh, P.W. and Simone, D.A. Spinal neurons that express NK-1 receptors modulate descending controls that project through the dorsolateral funiculus. Journal of Neurophysiology, 93(2):998-1006, 2005.
  • Johanek, L. and Simone, D.A. Activation of peripheral cannabinoid receptors attenuates cutaneous hyperalgesia produced by a heat injury. Pain, 109:432-442, 2004.
  • Khasabova, I., Harding-Rose, C., Simone, D.A. and Seybold, V.S. Differential effects of CB1 and opioid agonists on two populations of adult dorsal root ganglion neurons. Journal of Neuroscience, 24(7):1744-1753, 2004.
  • Simone, D.A., Zhang, X., Li, J., Zhang, J.-M., Honda, C.N., Lamotte, R.H. and Giesler, G.J. Comparison of responses of primate spinothalamic tract neurons to pruritic and algogenic stimuli. Journal of Neurophysiology, 91(1):213-222, 2004.
  • Khasabov, S.G., Rogers, S.D., Ghilardi, J.D., Peters, C.M., Mantyh, P.W. and Simone, D.A. Spinal neurons that possess the substance P receptor are required for the development of central sensitization. Journal of Neuroscience, 22(20):9086-9098, 2002.
  • Cain, D.M., Wacnik, P.W., Turner, M., Wendelschaffer-Crabb, G., Kennedy, W.R., Wilcox, G.L. and Simone, D.A.Functional interactions between tumor and peripheral nerve: excitability and morphology of primary afferent fibers in a murine model of cancer pain. Journal of Neuroscience, 21(23):9367-76, 2001.
  • Khalili, N., Wendelschafer-Crabb, G., Kennedy, W.R. and Simone, D.A. Influence of thermode size for detecting heat pain dysfunction in a capsaicin model of epidermal nerve fiber loss. Pain, 91:241-250, 2001.
  • Khasabov, S.G., Cain, D.M., Thong, D., Mantyh, P.W. and Simone, D.A. Enhanced responses of rat dorsal horn neurons to heat and cold stimuli following a mild frostbite injury to the skin. Journal of Neurophysiology, 86:986-996, 2001.
  • Cain, D.M., Khasabov, S.G. and Simone, D.A. Response properties of mechanoreceptors and nociceptors innervating mouse glabrous skin: an in vivo study. Journal of Neurophysiology, 85:1575-1584, 2001.
  • Nichols, M.W., Allen, B.J., Rogers, S.D., Ghilardi, J.R., Honore, P., Luger, N.M., Finke, M.P., Li, J., lappi, D.A., Simone, D.A. and Mantyh, P.W. Transmission of chronic pain by spinal neurons expressing the substance P receptor. Science, 286:1558-1561, 1999.
  • Nolano, M., Simone, D.A., Wendelschafer-Crabb, G., Johnson, T., Hazen, E. and Kennedy, W.R. Topical capsaicin in humans: parallel loss of epidermal nerve fibers and pain sensation. Pain, 81:135-145, 1999.
  • Simone, D.A., Nolano, M., Wendelschafer-Crabb, G. and Kennedy, W.R. Intradermal injection of capsasicin in humans produces degeneration and subsequent reinnervation of epideral nerve fibers: correlation with sensory function. Journal of Neuroscience, 18:8947-8959, 1998.
  • Mantyh, P.W., Rogers, S.D., Honore, P., Allen, B.J., Ghilardi, J.R., Li, J., Daughters,R.S., Lappi, D.A., Wiley, R.G. andSimone, D.A. Inhibition of hyperalgesia by ablation of lamina I spinal neurons expressing the substance P receptor.Science, 278:275-279, 1997.
  • Simone, D.A. and Kajander, K.C. Responses of A-fiber nociceptors to noxious cold. Journal of Neurophysiology, 77:2049-2060, 1997.
  • Mantyh, P.W., Demaster, E., Ghilardi, J.R., Rogers, S., Malhotra, A., Mantyh, C.R., Basbaum, A.L., Vigna, S.R., Maggio, J.E. and Simone, D.A. Receptor endocytosis and dendrite reshaping in spinal neurons after somatosensory stimulation.Science, 268:1629-1632, 1995.
  • Simone, D.A., Marchettini, P., Caputi, G. and Ochoa, J.L. Identification of muscle afferents subserving sensation of deep pain in humans. Journal of Neurophysiology, 72:883-889, 1994.
  • Simone, D.A., Hansen, M.E., Bernau, N.A. and Pubols, B.H. Nociceptive responses of raccoon thalamic neurons.Journal of Neurophysiology, 69:318-328, 1993.
  • Simone, D.A., Oh, U., Sorkin, L.S., Chung, J.M., Owens, C., LaMotte, R.H. and Willis, W.D. Neurogenic hyperalgesia: Central neural correlates in responses of spinothalamic tract neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology, 66:228-246, 1991.



NSCI 6110: Neuroscience for Dental Students (Spring semester)