Charles C. Horn, PhD

Visiting Associate Professor, Medicine, Anesthesiology


Hillman Cancer Center-Research Pavilion G.17b
F: 412-623-1119
Website >


PhD, Kansas State University (1996)


Neurobiology of nausea and vomiting.

Research Summary

Dr. Horn's primary research focus is the neurobiology of nausea and vomiting and, more generally, the role of gut-brain communication in homeostasis. Numerous medical treatments and diseases activate the gut-brain axis to elicit nausea and emesis, including cancer chemotherapy agents, AIDS treatment drugs, and analgesics in post-operative recovery. Despite the far-reaching presence of these aversive symptoms, the mechanisms and methods to control nausea and vomiting are not fully understood. This line of research has the long term goal of developing treatments to decrease symptom burden and improve quality of life for patients.

Current Projects:
1) Electrophysiological and morphological properties of hindbrain neurons involved in emesis using an in situ brainstem preparation in the musk shrew (musk shrews are used because rodents lack a vomiting response).2) Long-term behavioral responses produced by cancer chemotherapy agents.3) Relationship of nausea and emesis to stress, pain, anorexia, fatigue and other aversive symptoms produced by cancer chemotherapy agents.


Gupta RG, Schafer C, Ramaroson Y, Sciullo MG, Horn CC. Role of the abdominal vagus and hindbrain in inhalational anesthesia-induced vomiting. Autonom Neurosci: Basic Clinical, 2016 (in press). 
Rosenberg DM, Horn CC. Neurophysiological analytics for all! Free open-source software tools for documenting, analyzing, visualizing, and sharing using electronic notebooks. Journal of Neurophysiology, 2016 (in press). 
Horn CC, Zirpel L, Sciullo M, and Rosenberg D. Impact of electrical stimulation of the stomach on gastric distension-induced emesis in the musk shrew. Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 2016 (in press). 
Donovan HS, Hagan TL, Campbell GB, Boisen MM, Rosenblum LM, Edwards RP, Bovbjerg DH, Horn CC. Nausea as a sentinel symptom for cytotoxic chemotherapy effects on the gut-brain axis among women receiving treatment for recurrent ovarian cancer: an exploratory analysis. Support Care Cancer. 2016 Jan 8. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26746209. 


Horn, C.C., Still, L., Fitzgerald, C. and Friedman, M.I. Food restriction, refeeding, and gastric fill fail to affect emesis in musk shrews. Am J Physiol (Gastrointest Liver Physiol). 2009, in press.

Horn, C.C., De Jonghe, B.C., Matyas, K. and Norgren, R. Chemotherapy-induced kaolin intake is increased by lesion of the lateral parabrachial nucleus of the rat. Am J Physiol (Reg Comp Integr Physiol). 2009, in press.

Horn, C.C. Brain Fos expression induced by the chemotherapy agent cisplatin in the rat is partially dependent on an intact vagus. Auton Neurosci. 148(1-2): 76-82, 2009.

De Jonghe, B.C. and Horn, C.C. Chemotherapy agent cisplatin induces 48 h Fos expression in the brain of a vomiting species, the house musk shrew (Suncus murinus). Am J Physiol (Reg Comp Integr Physiol). 296(4): R902-11, 2009.

Horn, C.C. Why is the neurobiology of nausea and vomiting so important? Appetite. 50: 430-4, 2008.