Stephen M. Onifer, Ph.D.

Stephen M. Onifer, Ph.D.

Stephen M. Onifer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research - Davenport, Iowa

Research Interests

My research interests focus on understanding and developing treatments for the adaptive plasticity and maladaptive plasticity that occur following central and peripheral nervous system inflammation, damage, and disease. In particular, central nervous system mechanisms of pain and the therapeutic effects on them by spinal manipulative therapy are to be investigated with funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health. Translating this information clinically so that pain's devastating impact on quality of life can be attenuated or alleviated is my ultimate goal.

Research Keywords

spinal manipulative therapy, nociception, pain


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Neuroscience, University of Miami School of Medicine
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Physiology & Biophysics (Ph.D.), Indiana University
  • Bachelor of Science, Biology (B.S.), Lock Haven State College

Recent Awards/Key Committees

  • Member, Rank & Promotion Committee - Associate Professor, Palmer College of Chiropractic - 2017-2020
  • Member, Ad Hoc Committee for Thelma Fordyce-Mack Achievement Award, Palmer College of Chiropractic - 2013-2017
  • Library Advisory Committee, Palmer College of Chiropractic - 2014-2016
  • Member, Ad Hoc Committee, NIH Acute Neural Injury and Epilepsy Study Section - 2/2013, 6/2014, 10/2014

Funded Grants/Projects, 2011 - present

Visit our Grants and Projects page for additional information.

Antinociceptive Mechanisms of Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Neuropathic Pain
Principal Investigator

Selected Publications

Antinociceptive Effects of Spinal Manipulative Therapy on Nociceptive Behavior of Adult Rats during the Formalin Test

Author(s): Onifer SM, Reed WR, Sozio RS, Long CR
Publication: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume: Epub
Issue: Nov 26
Year: 2015

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Horizontal ladder task-specific re-training in adult rats with contusive thoracic spinal cord injury

Author(s): Onifer SM, Zhang O, Whitnel-Smith LK, Raza K, O’Dell CR, Lyttle TS, Rabchevsky AG, Kitzman PH, Burke DA
Publication: Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Volume: 29
Page(s): 275-286
Year: 2011

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Increased chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan expression in denervated brainstem targets following spinal cord injury creates a barrier to axonal regeneration overcome by chondroitinase ABC and neurotrophin-3

Author(s): Massey JM, Amps J, Viapiano MS, Matthews RT, Wagoner MR, Whitaker CM, Alilain W, Yonkof A, Khalyfa A, Cooper NGF, Silver J, Onifer SM
Publication: Experimental Neurology
Volume: 209
Page(s): 426-445
Year: 2008

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Chondroitinase ABC digestion of the perineuronal net promotes functional collateral sprouting in the cuneate nucleus following cervical spinal cord injury

Author(s): Massey JM, Hubscher CH, Wagoner MR, Decker JA, Amps J, Silver J, Onifer SM
Publication: Journal of Neuroscience
Volume: 26
Issue: 4406-4414
Year: 2006

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