Alice Larson, PhD

Professor, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

Alice Larson

Contact Info

[email protected]

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. 


Collins, BC, Arpke, RW, Larson, AA, Baumann, CW, Xie, N, Cabelka, CA, Nash, NL, Juppi, HK, Laakkonen, EK, Sipilä, S, Kovanen, V, Spangenburg, EE, Kyba, M & Lowe, DA 2019, ‘Estrogen Regulates the Satellite Cell Compartment in Females’ Cell Rep, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 368-381.e6.

Lindsay, A, Southern, WM, McCourt, PM, Larson, AA, Hodges, JS, Lowe, DA & Ervasti, JM 2019, ‘Variable cytoplasmic actin expression impacts the sensitivity of different dystrophin-deficient mdx skeletal muscles to eccentric contraction’ FEBS J.

Pardo, JV, Larson, RC, Spencer, RJ, Lee, JT, Pasley, JD, Torkelson, CJ & Larson, AA 2019, ‘Exposure to Cold Unmasks Potential Biomarkers of Fibromyalgia Syndrome Reflecting Insufficient Sympathetic Responses to Stress’ Clin J Pain, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 407-419.

Lindsay, A, Larson, AA, Verma, M, Ervasti, JM & Lowe, DA 2019, ‘Isometric resistance training increases strength and alters histopathology of dystrophin-deficient mouse skeletal muscle’ J Appl Physiol (1985), vol. 126, no. 2, pp. 363-375.

Robinson, DC, Mammel, AE, Logan, AM, Larson, AA, Schmidt, EJ, Condon, AF & Robinson, FL 2018, ‘An In Vitro Model of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Type 4B2 Provides Insight Into the Roles of MTMR13 and MTMR2 in Schwann Cell Myelination’ ASN Neuro, vol. 10, p. 1759091418803282.

Larson, AA, Syverud, BC, Florida, SE, Rodriguez, BL, Pantelic, MN & Larkin, LM 2018, ‘Effects of Dexamethasone Dose and Timing on Tissue-Engineered Skeletal Muscle Units’ Cells Tissues Organs, vol. 205, no. 4, pp. 197-207.

Van Damme, T, Pang, X, Guillemyn, B, Gulberti, S, Syx, D, De Rycke, R, Kaye, O, de Die-Smulders, CEM, Pfundt, R, Kariminejad, A, Nampoothiri, S, Pierquin, G, Bulk, S, Larson, AA, Chatfield, KC, Simon, M, Legrand, A, Gerard, M, Symoens, S, Fournel-Gigleux, S & Malfait, F 2018, ‘Biallelic B3GALT6 mutations cause spondylodysplastic Ehlers-Danlos syndrome’ Hum Mol Genet, vol. 27, no. 20, pp. 3475-3487.

Larson, AA, Baker, PR 2nd, Milev, MP, Press, CA, Sokol, RJ, Cox, MO, Lekostaj, JK, Stence, AA, Bossler, AD, Mueller, JM, Prematilake, K, Tadjo, TF, Williams, CA, Sacher, M, Moore, SA 2018, ‘TRAPPC11 and GOSR2 mutations associate with hypoglycosylation of ?-dystroglycan and muscular dystrophy’ Skelet Muscle, vol. 8, no. 1, p. 17.

Starr, MC, Chang, IJ, Finn, LS, Sun, A, Larson, AA, Goebel, J, Hanevold, C, Thies, J, Van Hove, JLK, Hingorani, SR & Lam, C 2018, ‘COQ2 nephropathy: a treatable cause of nephrotic syndrome in children’ Pediatr Nephrol, vol. 33, no. 7, pp. 1257-1261.

Larson, AA, Balasubramaniam, S, Christodoulou, J, Burrage, LC, Marom, R, Graham, BH, Diaz, GA, Glamuzina, E, Hauser, N, Heese, B, Horvath, G, Mattman, A, van Karnebeek, C, Lane Rutledge, S, Williamson, A, Estrella, L, Van Hove, JKL & Weisfeld-Adams, JD 2019, ‘Biochemical signatures mimicking multiple carboxylase deficiency in children with mutations in MT-ATP6’ Mitochondrion, vol. 44, pp. 58-64.


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