A photo of Michael Jankowski.

Michael P. Jankowski, PhD

  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



My areas of research include neuroscience, pain research and sensory neuron biology.
Our lab is investigating the mechanisms of sensory neuron sensitization with a particular emphasis on nociceptive processing. We seek to understand pain processing better to develop proper treatments.

Pain is a significant health issue that affects a large number of people worldwide. The mechanisms by which pain develops in children may be distinct from adults and influenced by non-neuronal communication. While we know a great deal of information about the role of nociceptors in the development of pain states, we do not have a comprehensive understanding of how distinct subtypes of sensory fibers modulate pain across the lifespan under different injury conditions.

Some of our discoveries include finding that peripheral growth hormone (GH) signaling to neurons not only modulates normal sensory development, but exogenous GH may also be used as a potential therapy for pediatric pain. We have obtained a U.S. patent to develop this technology. We also found that distinct growth factor signaling pathways have the ability to modulate both muscle pain and cardiovascular reflexes after ischemic injury to the periphery.

I am the recipient of numerous awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that support my research that began as early as my pre-doctoral training (2006). I am also a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar (2012) and was named a Cincinnati Children's Trustee Scholar in 2013. I am an associate editor for the journals Pain and Molecular Pain and a reviewer for more than 30 other peer-reviewed journals. I have been a researcher for more than 20 years and began my work at Cincinnati Children's in 2011.

My accomplishments, awards and recognitions include:

  • Named the Theodore W. Striker, MD Chair in Anesthesia Research
  • Serve as Director of Research in the Department of Anesthesia
  • Serve as Associate Director of Basic Science Research for the Center for Understanding Pediatric Pain (CUPP)
  • Served and continue to serve on several NIH, Department of Defense (DoD) and foundation study sections
  • Given more than 30 lectures at national and international forums
  • Trained over 25 individuals in the neurosciences, several of whom have received prestigious awards and funding for their work in my laboratory

I’m a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the US Association for the Study of Pain, the International Association for the Study of Pain and the Special Interest Group on Pain in Childhood.

MS: Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 2003.

PhD: Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 2006.

Postdoctoral Training: University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 2006-2010.


Neuroscience; pain research; sensory neuron biology

Research Areas

Anesthesia, Neuromuscular Development



Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms influencing acute to chronic postsurgical pain transitions in pediatrics: Preclinical to clinical evidence. Dourson, AJ; Willits, A; Raut, NG R; Kader, L; Young, E; Jankowski, MP; Chidambaran, V. 2022; 6:85-107.


Early Life Nociception is Influenced by Peripheral Growth Hormone Signaling. Dourson, AJ; Ford, ZK; Green, KJ; McCrossan, CE; Hofmann, MC; Hudgins, RC; Jankowski, MP. Journal of Neuroscience. 2021; 41:4410-4427.


A dual role for peripheral GDNF signaling in nociception and cardiovascular reflexes in the mouse. Queme, LF; Weyler, AA; Cohen, ER; Hudgins, RC; Jankowski, MP. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2020; 117:698-707.


A histone deacetylase 3-dependent pathway delimits peripheral myelin growth and functional regeneration. He, X; Zhang, L; Queme, LF; Liu, X; Lu, A; Waclaw, RR; Dong, X; Zhou, W; Kidd, G; Yoon, S; et al. Nature Medicine. 2018; 24:338-351.


Interleukin 1β inhibition contributes to the antinociceptive effects of voluntary exercise on ischemia/reperfusion-induced hypersensitivity. Ross, JL; Queme, LF; Lamb, JE; Green, KJ; Ford, ZK; Jankowski, MP. Pain. 2018; 159:380-392.


Peripheral Mechanisms of Ischemic Myalgia. Queme, LF; Ross, JL; Jankowski, MP. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 2017; 11.

Hyaluronan homeostasis and its role in pain and muscle stiffness. Amir, A; Kim, S; Stecco, A; Jankowski, MP; Raghavan, P. PM and R. 2022; 14:1490-1496.

Single-Unit Electrophysiological Recordings of Primary Muscle Sensory Neurons Using a Novel Ex Vivo Preparation. Queme, LF; Jankowski, MP. Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Pain. 2022.

Disruption of Hyaluronic Acid in Skeletal Muscle Induces Decreased Voluntary Activity via Chemosensitive Muscle Afferent Sensitization in Male Mice. Queme, LF; Dourson, AJ; Hofmann, MC; Butterfield, A; Paladini, RD; Jankowski, MP. eNeuro. 2022; 9.

In silico Identification of Key Factors Driving the Response of Muscle Sensory Neurons to Noxious Stimuli. Nagaraja, S; Queme, LF; Hofmann, MC; Tewari, SG; Jankowski, MP; Reifman, J. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2021; 15.

From the Blog

Michael Jankowski Discusses Ischemic Myalgia on Podcast
Mind Brain Behavior

Michael Jankowski Discusses Ischemic Myalgia on Podcast

Michael P. Jankowski, PhD8/14/2020