Display Accessibility Tools

Accessibility Tools


Highlight Links

Change Contrast

Increase Text Size

Increase Letter Spacing

Dyslexia Friendly Font

Increase Cursor Size

James Galligan, PhD

Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology

B328 Life Sciences
1355 Bogue Street
East Lansing, MI 48824

Email: galliga1@msu.edu

Phone: (517) 353-4776 | Fax: (517) 353-8915 | Location:  B328 Life Sciences

Fields of Interest: "Purinergic neurotransmission in the intestine", "Neural control of arteries and veins in hypertension", "SERT KO rats are a model of sex specific visceral pain".

  • 1976 - B.A., Biology and Psychology, St. Michael's College
  • 1978 - M.S., Physiology, Rutgers University
  • 1983 - Ph.D., Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Arizona
  • 1983-85 - Postdoctoral Fellow, Physiology, Flinders University/Australia
  • 1986-87 - Postdoctoral Fellow, Biological Sciences, MIT
  • 1987-88 - Sr Research Associate, Vollum Institute, Oregon Health Sciences Univ
  • 1989-93 - Assistant Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Michigan State Univ
  • 1993-97 - Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Michigan State Univ
  • 1997-present - Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Michigan State University
  • 1997-2011 - Associate Director, Neuroscience Program, Michigan State University
  • 2008-present - Associate Chair, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Michigan State University
  • 2011-present - Director, Neuroscience Program, Michigan State University

"Purinergic neurotransmission in the intestine"

This project is focused on identifying the unique mechanisms of neurotrans-mission that allow the enteric nervous system to control gut function.We are using electrophysiological methods to record from single enteric nerves and muscle cells in vitro in acutely isolated preparations of guinea pig and mouse intestine. This preparation is useful as most neural connections present in the intact intestine are preserved and the endogenous neural circuits that control gastrointestinal function can be studied. We are studying the effects of obesity and calcium channel deficiencies on neutrotransmission to the muscle layers in the gut. These studies are designed to identify the calcium channels that control release of inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters. We also want to identify the molecular targets for obesity induced changes in enteric neuron and smooth muscle function.

"Neural control of arteries and veins in hypertension"

This project is part of a larger multi-investigator program project grant to study different contributions of arteries and veins to blood pressure control and hypertension. We are using video-based digital microscopy to study neuronal control of the diameter of small blood vessels that provide the blood supply for the intestine. These methods allow combined electrophysiological and pharmacological analysis of the neural mechanisms that regulate systemic blood pressure. We are studying how these mechanisms may change in animal models of hypertension in order to identify potential new drug targets for the treatment of high blood pressure. Through collaborations with Drs. Fink, Watts, Kreulen, Jackson, Swain and Xu we can also use a variety of integrative, cellular and molecular methods to study how the sympathetic nervous system controls blood pressure in health and disease.

"SERT KO rats are a model of sex specific visceral pain"

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal motility and sensation disorder that affects women twice as often as men. Serotonin signaling in the central and peripheral nervous systems is also disrupted in IBS patients. We are using a serotonin transporter gene knockout (SERT KO) rat to study the interaction between female sex hormones, serotonin and visceral pain. These studies use in vivo approaches to measure visceral sensation, electrophysiological approaches to study sensory neuron function and molecular biological approaches to study key signaling molecules in pain pathways.

Editorial Boards

  • Chair, Editorial Advisory Board Neurogastroenterology, 2010-2014
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Enteric Neuroscience, 2009-present
  • Autonomic Neuroscience, 2003-present
  • American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver, 1999-present
  • Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 1993-1995; 1999-present


  • Janssen Award for Basic Research in Digestive Sciences, 2004
  • Joint International Neurogastroenterology and Motility Meeting, Scientific Committee, 2004-2006
  • Clinical and Integrative Gastrointestinal Pathobiology (CIGP) Study Section, Member, 2004-present
  • American Gastroenterological Association
  • Elected Fellow, 2006
  • Chair, Motility and Nerve-gut Interaction Section, 2005-2007
  • Vice Chair (elected), Motility and Nerve-gut Interaction Section, 2003-2004
  • Council (elected), 2003-2007
  • Councilor, Nervous Control of Motility Section, 1999-2003
  • American Heart Association, Council for High Blood Pressure Research, Elected Fellow, 2002
  • American Motility Society
  • Jim Long Memorial Lectureship, 2005
  • Michigan State University Distinguished Faculty Award, 2011


  • American Gastroenterological Association Research Policy Committee, Member, 2009-2012
  • American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society, Chair Research Committee, 2009-2011
  • American Physiological Society Science Policy Committee, 2008-2011
  • National Scientific Advisory Board, International Group for the Study of Neurogastroenterology Motility, Member, 2000-2001

Full list of publications at MSU Scholars

  • Xu H, Garver H, Fernandes R, Phelps JT, Harkema JJ, Galligan JJ, Fink GD. BK channel β1-subunit deficiency exacerbates vascular fibrosis and remodelling but does not promote hypertension in high-fat fed obesity in mice. J Hypertens 33: 1611-1623, 2015.

  • Thang LV, Demel SL, Crawford R, Kaminski NE, Swain GM, van Rooijen N, Galligan JJ. Macrophage depletion lowers blood pressure and restores sympathetic nerve α2-adrenergic receptor function in mesenteric arteries of DOCA-salt hypertensive  rats. Am J Physiol 309: H1186-1197, 2015

  • France M, Skorich, E Kadrofske M, Swain GM, Galligan JJ. Sex-related differences in small intestinal transit and serotonin dynamics in high fat diet-induced obesity in mice. Exp Physiol 101: 81-99, 2016

  • Bhattarai Y, Fried D, Gulbransen B, Kadrofske MM, Fernandes R, Xu H, Galligan JJ. High fat diet-induced obesity alters nitric oxide-mediated neuromuscular transmission and smooth muscle excitability in the mouse distal colon. Am J Physiol Jun 10:ajpgi.00085.2016. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00085.2016.

  • Rodriguez-Tapia E, Perez-Medina A, Bian X, Galligan JJ. Up-regulation of L-type calcium channels in colonic inhibitory motorneurons of P/Q type calcium channel deficient mice. Am J Physiol 2016 Sep doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00263.2016.