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


Wang, Zilong, Christopher R. Donnelly, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Scratching after Stroking and Poking: A Spinal Circuit Underlying Mechanical Itch.” Neuron 103, no. 6 (September 25, 2019): 952–54.
Luo, Xin, Yul Huh, Sangsu Bang, Qianru He, Linlin Zhang, Megumi Matsuda, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Macrophage Toll-like Receptor 9 Contributes to Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain in Male Mice.” J Neurosci 39, no. 35 (August 28, 2019): 6848–64.
Lopez, Tyler, Zahid Mustafa, Chuan Chen, Ki Baek Lee, Aaron Ramirez, Chris Benitez, Xin Luo, Ru-Rong Ji, and Xin Ge. “Functional selection of protease inhibitory antibodies.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116, no. 33 (August 13, 2019): 16314–19.
Chamessian, Alexander, Megumi Matsuda, Michael Young, Michelle Wang, Zhi-Jun Zhang, Di Liu, Brielle Tobin, Zhen-Zhong Xu, Thomas Van de Ven, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Is Optogenetic Activation of Vglut1-Positive Aβ Low-Threshold Mechanoreceptors Sufficient to Induce Tactile Allodynia in Mice after Nerve Injury?” J Neurosci 39, no. 31 (July 31, 2019): 6202–15.
Suarez-Roca, Heberto, Rebecca Y. Klinger, Mihai V. Podgoreanu, Ru-Rong Ji, Martin I. Sigurdsson, Nathan Waldron, Joseph P. Mathew, and William Maixner. “Contribution of Baroreceptor Function to Pain Perception and Perioperative Outcomes.” Anesthesiology 130, no. 4 (April 2019): 634–50.
Chen, Gang, Yong Ho Kim, Hui Li, Hao Luo, Da-Lu Liu, Zhi-Jun Zhang, Mark Lay, Wonseok Chang, Yu-Qiu Zhang, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Author Correction: PD-L1 inhibits acute and chronic pain by suppressing nociceptive neuron activity via PD-1.” Nat Neurosci 22, no. 3 (March 2019): 503.
Matsuda, Megumi, Yul Huh, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Roles of inflammation, neurogenic inflammation, and neuroinflammation in pain.” J Anesth 33, no. 1 (February 2019): 131–39.
Cheng, Ruo-Xiao, Yu Feng, Di Liu, Zhi-Hong Wang, Jiang-Tao Zhang, Li-Hua Chen, Cun-Jin Su, et al. “The role of Nav1.7 and methylglyoxal-mediated activation of TRPA1 in itch and hypoalgesia in a murine model of type 1 diabetes.” Theranostics 9, no. 15 (2019): 4287–4307.
Luo, Xin, Yun Gu, Xueshu Tao, Charles Nicholas Serhan, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Resolvin D5 Inhibits Neuropathic and Inflammatory Pain in Male But Not Female Mice: Distinct Actions of D-Series Resolvins in Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy.” Front Pharmacol 10 (2019): 745.
Chen, Gang, Yu-Qiu Zhang, Yawar J. Qadri, Charles N. Serhan, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Microglia in Pain: Detrimental and Protective Roles in Pathogenesis and Resolution of Pain.” Neuron 100, no. 6 (December 19, 2018): 1292–1311.