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College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology

Michael M. Morgan


Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, 1989

Contact Information

Office: CLS 208G – Vancouver (Regional Campus)
Phone: (360) 546-9726

More Information…

Classes Taught

  • Psychology 312: Research Methods in Psychology
  • Psychology 372: Introduction to Physiological Psychology
  • Psychology 401: Historical Development of Psychology
  • Psychology 504: History of Psychology: Theoretical and Scientific Foundations

Research Interests

  • Neural Mechanisms of Pain Modulation

Insights into the function of the periaqueductal gray (PAG) can be revealed by examining the behavioral effects evoked from direct application of drugs (e.g., opioids, excitatory amino acids). The running, jumping, and immobility produced by activation of PAG neurons indicate that the function of this structure is the integration of defensive reactions of which pain inhibition is merely one component. Injection of opioids into the PAG inhibits pain by binding to mu-opioid receptors. We currently are examining how administration of different mu-opioid receptor agonists (e.g., morphine, fentanyl, DAMGO) into the PAG vary in the analgesia produced and signaling molecules activated. This type of ligand biased signaling is used to reveal molecular mechanisms underlying antinociception, tolerance, and withdrawal from opioids.

Dr. Morgan will be recruiting a graduate student for Fall 2019 admission to the Experimental Psychology PhD Program.

Selected Publications

Macey, T. A., Bobeck, E. N., Suchland, K., Morgan, M. M., & Ingram, S. L. (2015). Change in functional selectivity of morphine with the developmentĀ of antinociceptive tolerance. British Journal of Pharmacology, 172(2):549-61. PMID 24666417.

Morgan, M. M., Reid, R. A., and Saville, K. A. (2014). Functionally selective signaling for morphine and fentanyl antinociception and tolerance mediated by the rat periaqueductal gray. PLoS ONE, 9(12): e11469. PMID 25503060.

Morgan, M. M., Reid, R. A., Stormann, T. M., & Lautermilch, N. J. (2014). Opioid selective antinociception following microinjection into the periaqueductal gray of the rat. J. Pain, 15:1102-1109. PMID 25106089.

Bobeck, E. N., Chen, Q. L., Morgan, M. M., and Ingram, S. L. (2014) Contribution of adenylyl cyclase modulation of pre- and postsynaptic GABA neurotransmission to morphine antinociception and tolerance. Neuropsychopharmacology, 39(9):2142-52. PMID: 24622471.

Mehalick, M. L., Ingram, S. L., Aicher. S. A., & Morgan, M. M. (2013). Chronic inflammatory pain prevents tolerance to the antinociceptive effect of morphine microinjected into the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray of the rat. Journal of Pain, 14:1601-1610. PMID 24161274.

Suckow, S. K., Deichsel, E. L., Ingram, S. L., Morgan, M. M., & Aicher. S. A. (2013). Columnar distribution of catecholaminergic neurons in the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (vlPAG) and their relationship to efferent pathways. Synapse, 67:94-108. PMID: 23152302

Wilson-Poe, A. R., Pocius, E., Herschbach, M., & Morgan, M. M. (2013). The periaqueductal gray contributes to bidirectional enhancement of antinociception between morphine and cannabinoids. Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior, 103:444-449. PMID: 23063785


Michael Morgan

Washington State University