W. Sue Ritter, Ph.D.

W. Sue Ritter, Ph.D.




Regents Professor
E-Mail: sjr@vetmed.wsu.edu
Office: Veterinary and Biomedical Research Building (VBR) room 433
Phone: (509) 335-8113

Sue Ritter (1)[1]

Current Positions

1986-2012 Professor, IPN, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
2012-Present Regents Professor, Washington State University, Pullman, WA


1969 B.A. Psychology; Valparaiso University, IN
1971 M.S. Physiological Psychology; Bryn Mawr College, PA
1973 Ph.D. Physiological Psychology; Bryn Mawr College, PA


My long-standing research interest and commitment is in neural and endocrine mechanisms controlling food intake and energy homeostasis. My ongoing research investigates the mechanisms through which glucose and fatty acids are detected centrally and peripherally, the neural pathways through which they mediate appropriate responses to reduced availability of these substrates, and the nature of the interaction of these substrates at various levels of homeostatic control.  The technical approaches I have focused on to address these issues include behavioral studies of food intake, endocrine and metabolic monitoring at the systemic level, surgical approaches for access to and manipulation of brain or visceral areas of interest, molecular neurosurgery with targeted toxins, neuroanatomical track tracing and assessment of circuit functions (recently including viral tools and optogenetic instrumentation), use of transgenic rats and mice, tissue culture and ratiometric calcium imaging and gene silencing.

Honors and Awards

2012 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research, WSU Scholarship and the Arts
2012 Appointed as Regents Professor
2015 Washington State Academy of Sciences, elected member

Current Funding

NIH Mechanisms of Fatty Acid Control of Feeding, PI
NIH Astrocytes, glucose detection, and counter-regulation, Co-PI


  1.  Li A-J, Wang Q, Davis H, Wang R, Ritter S.  Orexin neurons are activated by hindbrain catecholamine neurons during systemic glucoprivation, submitted 2015.
  2. Li A-J, Wang Q, Davis H, Wang R, Ritter S.  Orexin-A enhances feeding in male rats by activating hindbrain catecholamine neurons, submitted 2015.
  3. Li A-J, Wiater MF, Wang Q, Dinh TT, Wang R, Simasko SM, Wank S, Ritter S.  Mercaptoacetate stimulates feeding and blocks fatty acid-induced GLP-1 secretion by antagonizing GPR40 fatty acid receptors, submitted, 2015.
  4. Darling RA, Kinch D, Zhao H, Li A-J, Simasko SM, Ritter S. Mercaptoacetate and fatty acids exert direct and antagonistic effects on nodose neurons via GPR40 fatty acid receptors.  Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 307:R35-43, 2014.
  5. Li AJ, Wang Q, Dinh TT, Powers BR, and Ritter S. Stimulation of feeding by three different glucose-sensing mechanisms requires hindbrain catecholamine neurons. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 306: R257-264, 2014. 
  6. Wiater MF, Li AJ, Dinh TT, Jansen HT, and Ritter S. Leptin-sensitive neurons in the arcuate nucleus integrate activity and temperature circadian rhythms and anticipatory responses to food restriction. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 305: R949-960, 2013.
  7. Li AJ, Wang Q, Dinh TT, Wiater MF, Eskelsen AK, and Ritter S. Hindbrain catecholamine neurons control rapid switching of metabolic substrate use during glucoprivation in male rats.Endocrinology 154: 4570-4579, 2013.
  8. Routh VH, Donovan C, Ritter S. ”Hypoglycemia Detection”.  In: Translational Endocrinology and Metabolism: Hypoglycemia in Diabetes Update, 3 (4): 47-87, 2013.
  9. Li A-J, Wiater MF, Oostrom M, Smith BR, Wang Q, Dinh TT, Roberts B, Jansen H, Ritter S. Leptin-sensitive neurons in the arcuate nuclei contribute to endogenous feeding rhythms.  American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology 302(11): R1313-1326, 2012.
  10. Ritter S, Li AJ, Wang Q, Dinh TT.  Minireview: The Value of Looking Backward: The Essential Role of the Hindbrain in Counterregulatory Responses to Glucose Deficit. Endocrinology 152: 4019-4032, 2011.