James H. Peters, Ph.D.

James H. Peters, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
E-Mail: jamespeters@vetmed.wsu.edu
Office:  Veterinary and Biomedical Research Building (VBR) room 435
Phone: (509) 335-0517

Recruiting Ph.D. students for fall 2017



2005 Ph.D. Neuroscience; Washington State University, Pullman, WA
2001 B.S. Biology; Eastern Oregon University, LaGrande, OR

Honors and Awards

2007-2010 NIH F32 Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship
2003-2006 Poncin Scholar
2001-2003 ARCS Fellowship

Prior Academic Appointments

2010-2012 Research Assistant Professor, IPN, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
2006-2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, Physiology & Pharmacology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR


Our laboratory investigates the peripheral and central neurocircuitry that provides critical controls of food intake and energy homeostasis.  In the caudal brainstem, the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) integrates vagal afferent information arriving from across visceral organ systems to initiate homeostatic reflex pathways, including those essential for the controls of food intake.  Centrally, vagal afferents converge to form the solitary tract (ST) and contact second order NTS neurons via strong excitatory glutamatergic synapses. A major focus of ongoing work is to understand the pre- and post-synaptic controls of this first central synapse. We use a combination of in vivo and in vitro experimental approaches, including; primary culture, patch-clamp electrophysiology, and fluorescent calcium imaging.

Recently we have been actively pursuing the contribution of thermosensitive TRP channels in the control neuronal activation and central glutamate release.  Delineation of the endogenous cellular mechanisms underlying TRP channel activation and their role in the control of food intake are the primary ongoing projects in the lab.

Current Funding

NIH R01: Asynchronous glutamate release is vagal afferent to NTS nerurotransmission, PI
NIH R01: The role of glutamate in the control of food intake, Co-I


  1. Wu SW, Lindberg JE, and Peters JH (2016) Genetic and pharmacological evidence for low abundance TRPV3 expression in primary vagal afferent neurons. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. PMID: 26843581; PMCID: PMC5000774
  2. Brown RL, Xiong WH, Peters JH, Tekmen-Clark M, Strycharska-Orczyk I, Reed BT, Morgans CW, and Duvoisin RM (2015) TRPM3 expression in mouse retina. PLoS One 10(2):e0117615. PMID: 25679224 PMCID: PMC4334530 
  3. Zhao H, Peters JH, Zhu M, Ritter RC, and Appleyard SM (2014) Frequency-dependent facilitation of synaptic throughput via postsynaptic NMDA receptors in the nucleus of the solitary tract. J Physiol. 593(1):111-125. PMID: 25281729 PMCID: PMC4293058
  4. Wu SW, Fenwick AJ, and Peters JH (2014) Channeling satiation: A primer on the role of TRP channels in the control of glutamate release from vagal afferent neurons. Physiology and Behavior 136:179-184.    PMID: 25290762 
  5. Fenwick AJ, Wu SW, and Peters JH (2014) Isolation of TRPV1 independent mechanisms of spontaneous and asynchronous glutamate release at primary afferent to NTS synapses. Frontiers in Autonomic Neuroscience PMID:24550768   PMCID: PMC3907708
  6. Peters JH, Gallaher ZR, Ryu V, and Czaja K (2013) Withdrawal and restoration of central vagal afferents within the dorsal vagal complex following subdiaphragmatic vagotomy. J Comp Neurology PMID: 23749657 PMCID: PMC4012858
  7. Kinch DC, Peters JH, and Simasko SM (2012) Comparative pharmacology of cholecystokinin induced activation of cultured vagal afferent neurons from rats and mice. PLoS One 7: 34755. PMID: 22514663 PMCID: PMC3326049
  8. Peters JH, McDougall SJ, Fawley JA, and Andresen MC (2011) TRPV1 marks synaptic segregation of multiple convergent afferents at the rat medial solitary tract nucleus. PLoS One 6: 25015. PMID: 21949835 PMCID: PMC3176783
  9. Shoudai K, Peters JH, McDougall SJ, and Andresen MC (2010) Thermally active TRPV1 tonically drives central spontaneous glutamate release. J Neuroscience 30: 14470-5. PMID: 20980604 PMCID: PMC2976575 
  10. Peters JH, McDougall SJ, Fawley JA, Smith SM, and Andresen MC (2010) Primary afferent activation of thermosensitive TRPV1 triggers asynchronous glutamate release at central neurons. Neuron 65:657-69. PMID: 20223201 PMCID: PMC2837850 
  11. Peters JH, McDougall SJ, Kellett DO, Jordan D, Llewellyn-Smith IJ, and Andresen MC (2008) Oxytocin enhances cranial visceral afferent synaptic transmission to the solitary tract nucleus. J Neuroscience 28:11731-40. *See comment in J Neuroscience 2009, 29:4687-9. PMID: 18987209 PMCID: PMC2585803