Igor Spigelman Ph.d


Associate Professor
Department of oral Biology and Medicine
63-050 CHS
310-825-3190 | 310-794-7109 (fax)


  • BSc, University of Toronto, 1983
  • MSc, University of British Columbia, 1986
  • PhD, University of British Columbia, 1988
  • Postdoc, Toronto Hospital and University of Toronto, 1988-91

Awards and Positions

  • American Heart Association John Alexander MD Grant-in-Aid Award, 1998
  • UCLA Dental Research Institute Opportunity Funding Award, 1997-1998
  • UCLA Academic Senate Research Award, 1991-1993
  • Ontario Mental health Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1988-1991
  • British Columbia Post-secondary Scholarship, 1987
  • Canadian Heart Foundation Studentship, 1986-1988
  • Health Sciences research Award for neuroscience, University of British Columbia, 1986
  • Canadian Federation of Biological Sciences, CSPCA Animal Alternatives Award, Guelph, 1986
  • Faculty of Medicine, Summer Graduate Studentship, University of British Columbia, 1986

Research Interests

Dr. Spigelman is a neuropharmacologist conducting research on the mechanisms and relief of chronic pain, alcohol abuse, seizures and other neurodegenerative conditions such as stroke and brain trauma. His laboratory utilizes various multidisciplinary approaches to identify molecular targets for therapy of neuropathic pain. This includes studies on the alterations of voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels after peripheral nerve injuries, followed by the development of novel pharmaceuticals and non-viral gene delivery methodologies targeting the hyperexcitable sensory neurons which are involved in the transmission and processing of pain signals. The current focus of alcohol research is the GABA(A) receptor complex, which has been demonstrated to undergo profound molecular, functional and location-specific alterations in response to acute and chronic alcohol consumption. 


Recent Papers

  1. Shen Y., Lindemeyer A.K., Gonzalez C., Shao X.M., Spigelman I., Olsen R.W., Liang J., “Dihydromyricetin as a novel anti-alcohol intoxication medication,” J Neurosci. 2012 Jan 4;32(1):390-401.
  2. Suryanarayanan A., Liang J., Meyer E.M., Lindemeyer A.K., Chandra D., Homanics G.E., Sieghart W., Olsen R.W., Spigelman I., “Subunit Compensation and Plasticity of Synaptic GABA(A) Receptors Induced by Ethanol in α4 Subunit Knockout Mice,” Front Neurosci. 2011;5;110. Epub 2011 Sep 23.
  3. Ruangsri S., Lin A., Mulpuri Y., Lee K., Spigelman I., Nishimura I., “Relationship of axonal voltage-gated sodium channel 1.8 (NaV1.8) mRNA accumulation to sciatic nerve injury-induced painful neuropathy in rats,” J Biol Chem. 2011 Nov 18;286(46):39836-47. Epub 2011 Sep 30.
  4. Shen Y., Lindemeyer A.K., Spigelman I., Sieghart W., Olsen R.W., Liang J., “Plasticity of GABAA receptors after ethanol pre-exposure in cultured hippocampal neurons,” Mol Pharmacol. 2011 Mar;79(3):432-42. Epub 2010 Dec 16.
  5. Liang J., Spigelman I., Olsen R.W., “Tolerance to sedative/hypnotic actions of GABAergic drugs correlates with tolerance to potentiation of extrasynaptic tonic currents of alcohol-dependent rats,” J Neurophysiol. 2009 Jul;102(1):224-33. Epub 2009 May 6.
  6. Thakor D.K., Lin A., Matsuka Y., Meyer E.M., Ruangsri S., Nishimura I., Spigelman I., “Increased peripheral nerve excitability and local NaV1.8 mRNA up-regulation in painful neuropathy,” Mol Pain. 2009 Mar 25;5:14.
  7. Matsuka Y., Ono T., Iwase H., Mitrirattanakul S., Omoto K.S., Cho T., Lam Y.Y., Snyder B., Spigelman I., “Altered ATP release and metabolism in dorsal root ganglia of neuropathic rat,” Mol Pain. 2008 Dec 24;4:66. 
  8. Jain N.K., Ishikawa T.O., Spigelman I., Herschman H.R., “COX-2 expression and function in the hyperalgesic response to paw inflammation in mice,” Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2008 Dec;79(6):183-90. Epub 2008 Oct 1. 
  9. Liang J., Suryanarayanan A., Chandra D., Homanics G.E., Olsen R.W. Spigelman I., “Functional consequences of GABAA receptor alpha 4 subunit deletion on synaptic and extrasynaptic currents in mouse dentate granule cells,” Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2008 Jan;32(1):19-26. Epub 2007 Dec 7.
  10. Liang J., Suryanarayanan A., Abriam A., Snyder B., Olsen R.W., Spigelman I., “Mechanisms of reversible GABAA receptor plasticity after ethanol intoxication,” J Neurosci. 2007 Nov 7;27(45):12367-77.