College of Veterinary Medicine

Research in IPN

Leslie K. Sprunger, D.V.M., Ph.D.


Associate Professor
Associate Chair for Vet. Med. Education (IPN)
Office: VBR 451
Telephone: (509) 335-7071
Fax: (509) 335-4650

My research has involved integrating physiological methods with the tools of molecular genetics to study particular ion channels in the nervous system. While past studies centered on motor control, more recent work in my lab in collaboration with others has focused on the spatial distribution of channel genes in the enteric nervous system, vagal afferent neurons, and somatic afferent neurons with the objective of better understanding the determinants of gut function and dysfunction, as well as recovery of neuronal populations following injury.

I am also interested in the neuroscience of teaching and learning.  I am heavily involved in the DVM curriculum and take an inquiry-based, scholarly approach to professional (veterinary) medical education, especially in the disciplines of anatomy and physiology.

Biographical Information

Leslie Sprunger received a B.S. in Biological Science from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (1983); a D.V.M. from Washington State University (1987) and entered private practice as a small animal veterinarian. Dr. Sprunger returned to academia to earn a Ph.D. in Physiology (1995) from the University of Minnesota, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology where she was the recipient of a Graduate School Fellowship, the Louise T. Dosdall Fellowship for Women in Science; the Charles and Dorothy Andrew Bird Award for Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute predoctoral fellowship. An NIH Clinical Investigator Development Award funded Dr. Sprungers post-doctoral training in the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Physiology and the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan Medical School. Dr. Sprunger was appointed research faculty at University of Michigan in 1999, and joined IPN as Assistant Professor in July 2000.

Selected Publications

Raman, I.M., L.K. Sprunger, M.H. Meisler, and B.P. Bean. (1997) Altered subthreshold sodium currents and disrupted firing patterns in Purkinje neurons of Scn8a mutant mice. Neuron, 19:881-891.

Garcia, K., L.K. Sprunger, M.H. Meisler, and K. Beam. (1998) Postnatal development of sodium current density in normal and med motoneurons. J. Neurosci., 18:5234-5239.

Sprunger, L.K., A. Escayg, S. Tallaksen-Greene, R.L. Albin, and M.H. Meisler. (1999) Generalized dystonia associated with mutation of the neuronal sodium channel Scn8a: role of the modifier locus Scnm1 on mouse chromosome 3. Hum. Mol. Genet. 8:471-479.

Buchner, D.A., M. Trudeau, A.L. George, L.K. Sprunger, and M.H. Meisler.  (2003)  High resolution mapping of the sodium channel modifier Scnm1 on mouse chromosome 3 and identification of a 1.3 kb recombination hotspot.  Genomics 82(4): 452-459.

Meisler, M.H., N.W. Plummer, D.L. Burgess, D.A. Buchner, and L.K. Sprunger.  (2004)  Allelic mutations of the sodium channel SCN8A reveal multiple cellular and physiological functions.  Genetica (Netherlands) 122: 37-45.

Sprunger, L.K., and T.L. Smith.  (2005)  Reorganizing small animal gross anatomy: improving the faculty and student experience and incorporating non-technical competency development.  J. Vet. Med. Educ. 32: 255-263.

Bartoo, A.C., L.K. Sprunger, and D.A. Schneider.  (2005)  Expression and distribution of TTX-sensitive sodium channel alpha subunits in the enteric nervous system.  J. Comp. Neurol. 406: 117-131.

Bartoo, A.C., L.K. Sprunger, and D.A. Schneider.  (2006)  Expression of the sodium channel Nav1.2 in chemically identified myenteric neurons in the guinea pig.  Cell Tiss. Res. 324(1): 25-32. 

Bartoo, A. C., L. K. Sprunger, and D. A. Schneider.  (2006). "Expression of sodium channel Na(v)1.6 in cholinergic myenteric neurons of guinea pig proximal colon." Cell and Tissue Research 325(2): 203-209.

Sprunger, L. K.
(2008). "Facilitating appreciation of anatomical variation and development of teamwork skills in the gross anatomy laboratory using a cadaver reassignment system." Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 35(1): 110-117.

Zhao, H., L. K. Sprunger, S. M. Simasko. (2010). "Expression of transient receptor potential channels and two-pore potassium channels in subtypes of vagal afferent neurons in rat." Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 298(2): G212-221.

Gallaher, Z.R., R.M.T. Larios, V. Ryu, L.K. Sprunger and K. Czaja.  (2010).  Recovery of viscerosensory innervation from the dorsal root ganglia of the adult rat following capsaicin-induced injury. J. Comp. Neurol. 518(17): 3529-40.

Gallaher Z.R., V. Ryu, R.M. Larios, L.K. Sprunger, K. Czaja. (2011) Neural proliferation and restoration of neurochemical phenotypes and compromised functions following capsaicin-induced neuronal damage in the nodose ganglion of the adult rat. Front  Neurosci. 5:12

Memon M.A., L.K. Sprunger. (2011) Survey of colleges and schools of veterinary medicine regarding education in complementary and alternative veterinary medicine. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 239(5):619-23

PubMed Publications (Note: PubMed Search may produce additional "Sprunger" authors.)

Last Edited: Apr 09, 2013 10:26 AM   

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