Alice Larson, PhD

Professor, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

Alice Larson

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-624-3650

Fax 612-625-0204

Mailing Address:
235F AS/VM Building
1988 Fitch Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55108

PhD,Pharmacology, University of Minnesota School of Medicine

BA, Biology, University of Minnesota


Understanding the intricacies of pain transmission will lead to the development of new and better analgesic interventions. Dr. Larson's laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanism underpinning the tactile and muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia syndrome. Based on anecdotal reports by patients, stress enhances their symptoms while warmth provides temporary relief. Based on this, the lab subjected patients to cold stress to determine whether their subtle symptoms became more pronounced, allowing us to better understand the mechanism supporting their condition. They found that while their sympathetic tone is enhanced even in the absence of stress, sympathetic activity in response to stress was deficient, suggesting a dysregulation of these pathways. Dr. Larson's goal is to confirm and expand these findings. Her lab hopes to also determine whether it is the release of adrenergic transmitters or the response of specific adrenergic receptors that is impaired.


Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Muscle Pain, Stress

Chronic Disease Biology cluster


Research Summary/Interests

My research focuses on various aspects of pain transmission, especially that associated with musculoskeletal disorders such as fibromyalgia syndrome. Fibromyalgia is dramatically exacerbated by stress and diagnosed more than four times more frequently in females than in males. My most recent NIH grant focuses on determining whether stress hormones, like corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRF) or urocortins, cause musculoskeletal hyperalgesia in mice that is similar to that in fibromyalgia. Another direction that I have explored is the possibility that mast cells in the brain modulate pain transmission centrally as it is known to do peripherally. 



Academic Interests and Focus

I have mentored students from Comparative Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Statistics graduate programs. I have had two undergraduate students complete their Honors Thesis based on their efforts in my laboratory, and have hosted Summer Scholars students in my laboratory. I support the Powell Women’s Center which is dedicated to improving women’s health through increased knowledge of medical conditions that are unique to females and through training of junior faculty, postdoctoral associates, and students in women’s health and research.


  • CMB5910- Grant Writing: What Makes a Winning Proposal?, Lecturer