Photo of Sue A. Aicher, Ph.D.

Sue A. Aicher Ph.D.

  • (503) 418-2550
    • Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology School of Medicine
    • Director, Shared Instrumentation Program
    • Neuroscience Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences School of Medicine

Dr. Aicher has a long-standing interest in primary afferent sensory systems and how sensory information leads to physiological and behavioral changes in the organism.  She has done extensive work using various histological methods and is recongized for her anatomical studies of neural circuits.  Her training in psychology and behavior informs her approach to seeking understanding of how neural circuits modulate behavior.    The lab focuses on the cellular mechanism underlying normal and pathophysiological functions in pain and autonomic reflex pathways, as well as neural substrates of addiction.  These studies use a variety of techniques including tract tracing, dual labeling immunocytochemistry, electron microscopy, optical densitometry, behavioral and physiological measurements, and single neuron activity in the brain.  Dr. Aicher also collaborates extensively with colleagues at OHSU within the Physiology and Pharmacology department, across the campus, across the Columbia River, the US and in Australia. 


  • Ph.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City Iowa United States 1989

Memberships and associations

  • Editorial Board, The Journal of Comparative Neurology


  • "Chronic psychostimulant exposure to adult, but not periadolescent rats reduces subsequent morphine antinociception" Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior June 2012
  • "Decreased Substance P and NK1 Receptor Immunoreactivity and Function in the Spinal Cord Dorsal Horn of Morphine-Treated Neonatal Rats" Journal of Pain January 2008
  • "Effects of intrathecal antagonists on the antinociception, hypotension, and bradycardia produced by intravenous administration of [D-Ala2]-methionine enkephalinamide (DALA) in the rat" Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior  1988
  • "Rat trigeminal lamina I neurons that project to thalamic or parabrachial nuclei contain the μ-opioid receptor" Neuroscience  2004
  • "μ-opioid receptors are located postsynaptically and endomorphin-1 inhibits voltage-gated calcium currents in premotor cardiac parasympathetic neurons in the rat nucleus ambiguus" Neuroscience January 31 2003
  • "Distribution of CB1 cannabinoid receptors and their relationship with mu-opioid receptors in the rat periaqueductal gray" Neuroscience June 28 2012
  • "Corneal pain activates a trigemino-parabrachial pathway in rats" Brain Research March 6 2014
  • "Capsaicin-responsive corneal afferents do not contain TRPV1 at their central terminals in trigeminal nucleus caudalis in rats" Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy November 1 2014
  • "Structural changes in AMPA-receptive neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract of spontaneously hypertensive rats" Hypertension June 1 2003
  • "Nucleus tractus solitarius efferent terminals synapse on neurons in the caudal ventrolateral medulla that project to the rostral ventrolateral medulla" Brain Research September 25 1995
  • "Anti-myoclonic effect of ablation of the inferior olive" FASEB Journal  1996
  • "Distribution of μ-opioid receptors in rat visceral premotor neurons" Neuroscience December 9 2002
  • "Opioid receptor internalization contributes to dermorphin-mediated antinociception" Neuroscience June 2010
  • "Primary afferent NMDA receptors increase dorsal horn excitation and mediate opiate tolerance in neonatal rats" Journal of Neuroscience November 15 2006
  • "Columnar distribution of catecholaminergic neurons in the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray and their relationship to efferent pathways" Synapse February 2013
  • "A-type potassium channels differentially tune afferent pathways from rat solitary tract nucleus to caudal ventrolateral medulla or paraventricular hypothalamus" Journal of Physiology July 2007
  • "Subcellular localization of α-2A-adrenergic receptors in the rat medial nucleus tractus solitarius" Journal of Comparative Neurology April 30 2001
  • "Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activation counteracts morphine tolerance in the periaqueductal gray of the rat" Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics November 2009
  • "The gigantocellular depressor area revisited" Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology October 2003
  • "Descending projections from the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) to trigeminal and spinal dorsal horns are morphologically and neurochemically distinct" Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy March 2012
  • "Erratum" Journal of Comparative Neurology June 11 2001
  • "The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor is postsynaptic to substance P- containing axon terminals in the rat superficial dorsal horn" Brain Research October 24 1997
  • "μ-opioid receptors present in vagal afferents and their dendritic targets in the medial nucleus tractus solitarius" Journal of Comparative Neurology June 26 2000
  • "Cellular relations between μ-opioid receptive, GABAergic and reticulospinal neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla" Brain Research October 26 2001
  • "Presynaptic localization of the carboxy-terminus epitopes of the μ opioid receptor splice variants MOR-1C and MOR-1D in the superficial laminae of the rat spinal cord" Neuroscience October 31 2001
  • "Kappa opioid receptors in the rostral ventromedial medulla of male and female rats" Journal of Comparative Neurology January 20 2007
  • "Light and electron microscopic evidence for topographic and monosynaptic projections from neurons in the ventral medulla to noradrenergic dendrites in the rat locus coeruleus" Brain Research February 16 1998
  • "Differential localization of vesicular glutamate transporters and peptides in corneal afferents to trigeminal nucleus caudalis" Journal of Comparative Neurology September 1 2010
  • "N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors are present in vagal afferents and their dendritic targets in the nucleus tractus solitarius" Neuroscience June 1999
  • "Sustained hypertension increases the density of AMPA receptor subunit, GluR1, in baroreceptive regions of the nucleus tractus solitarii of the rat" Brain Research January 2 2008

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