Ru-Rong Ji

Professor in Anesthesiology
Distinguished Distinguished Professor of Anesthesiology, in the School of Medicine
Professor in Neurobiology
Professor in Cell Biology
Email address:

Chronic pain is a major health problem in the US, affecting 100 million Americans. The long-term goal of the lab is to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the genesis of chronic pain and, furthermore, to develop novel pain therapeutics that can target these mechanisms. We are interested in the following questions. (1) How do neuroinflammation and activation of glial cells (microglia and astrocytes) regulate pain and spinal cord synaptic plasticity via neuro-glial and neuro-immune interactions? (2) How do secreted miRNAs regulate neuronal signaling and synaptic transmission and pain as novel neuromodulators and pain mediators? (3) How do pro-resolution lipid mediators such as resolvins and protectin control pain via GPCR and arrestin signaling? (4) Do pain and itch share similar mechanisms? (5) How does Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling in primary sensory neurons regulate pain and itch? (6) How can bone marrow stem cells produce long-term pain relief via secreting anti-inflammatory and trophic factors? We employ a multidisciplinary approach that covers in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo electrophysiology, neuronal and glial cell biology, transgenic mice, and behaviors.

Education and Training

  • Chinese Academy of Sciences (China), Ph.D. 1990

Associated Faculty Labs

Department Affiliation

  • Department of Anesthesiology


Luo, L., R. R. Ji, Q. Zhang, M. J. Iadarola, T. Hökfelt, and Z. Wiesenfeld-Hallin. “Effect of administration of high dose intrathecal clonidine or morphine prior to sciatic nerve section on c-Fos expression in rat lumbar spinal cord.” Neuroscience 68, no. 4 (October 1995): 1219–27.
Ji, R. R., X. Zhang, Q. Zhang, A. Dagerlind, S. Nilsson, Z. Wiesenfeld-Hallin, and T. Hökfelt. “Central and peripheral expression of galanin in response to inflammation.” Neuroscience 68, no. 2 (September 1995): 563–76.
Piehl, F., R. R. Ji, S. Cullheim, T. Hökfelt, D. Lindholm, and R. A. Hughes. “Fibroblast growth factors regulate calcitonin gene-related peptide mRNA expression in rat motoneurons after lesion and in culture.” Eur J Neurosci 7, no. 8 (August 1, 1995): 1739–50.
Zhang, Q., R. R. Ji, R. Lindsay, and T. Hökfelt. “Effect of growth factors on substance P mRNA expression in axotomized dorsal root ganglia.” Neuroreport 6, no. 9 (June 19, 1995): 1309–12.
Zhang, X., R. R. Ji, S. Nilsson, M. Villar, R. Ubink, G. Ju, Z. Wiesenfeld-Hallin, and T. Hökfelt. “Neuropeptide Y and galanin binding sites in rat and monkey lumbar dorsal root ganglia and spinal cord and effect of peripheral axotomy.” Eur J Neurosci 7, no. 3 (March 1, 1995): 367–80.
Ji, R. R., Q. Zhang, K. Bedecs, J. Arvidsson, X. Zhang, X. J. Xu, Z. Wiesenfeld-Hallin, T. Bartfai, and T. Hökfelt. “Galanin antisense oligonucleotides reduce galanin levels in dorsal root ganglia and induce autotomy in rats after axotomy.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 91, no. 26 (December 20, 1994): 12540–43.
Ji, R. R., X. Zhang, Z. Wiesenfeld-Hallin, and T. Hökfelt. “Expression of neuropeptide Y and neuropeptide Y (Y1) receptor mRNA in rat spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia following peripheral tissue inflammation.” J Neurosci 14, no. 11 Pt 1 (November 1994): 6423–34.
Zhang, X., A. Dagerlind, L. Bao, R. R. Ji, J. M. Lundberg, and T. Hökfelt. “Increased expression of galanin in the rat superior cervical ganglion after pre- and postganglionic nerve lesions.” Experimental Neurology 127, no. 1 (May 1994): 9–22.
Zhang, M., R. R. Ji, Y. Fang, and J. S. Han. “Topical capsaicin treatment suppresses formalin-induced fos expression in rat spinal cord.” Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao 15, no. 1 (January 1994): 43–46.
Xu, T., R. R. Ji, T. Wang, and J. S. Han. “Expression of preprodynorphin and preproenkephalin mRNA in nucleus tractus solitarii of rats subjected to endotoxin (and effect of naltrexone on the expression).” Chinese Journal of Physiological Sciences 9, no. 4 (December 1, 1993): 331–34.