Ru-Rong Ji

Professor in Anesthesiology
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


Pappas, Andrea L., Alexandra L. Bey, Xiaoming Wang, Mark Rossi, Yong Ho Kim, Haidun Yan, Fiona Porkka, et al. “Deficiency of Shank2 causes mania-like behavior that responds to mood stabilizers..” Jci Insight 2, no. 20 (October 19, 2017).
Berta, Temugin, Florence E. Perrin, Marie Pertin, Raquel Tonello, Yen-Chin Liu, Alexander Chamessian, Ann C. Kato, Ru-Rong Ji, and Isabelle Decosterd. “Gene Expression Profiling of Cutaneous Injured and Non-Injured Nociceptors in SNI Animal Model of Neuropathic Pain..” Sci Rep 7, no. 1 (August 24, 2017).
Berta, Temugin, Yawar Qadri, Ping-Heng Tan, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Targeting dorsal root ganglia and primary sensory neurons for the treatment of chronic pain..” Expert Opin Ther Targets 21, no. 7 (July 2017): 695–703.
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. “PD-L1 inhibits acute and chronic pain by suppressing nociceptive neuron activity via PD-1..” Nat Neurosci 20, no. 7 (July 2017): 917–26.
Huh, Yul, Ru-Rong Ji, and Gang Chen. “Neuroinflammation, Bone Marrow Stem Cells, and Chronic Pain..” Front Immunol 8 (2017).
Han, Qingjian, Yong Ho Kim, Xiaoming Wang, Di Liu, Zhi-Jun Zhang, Alexandra L. Bey, Mark Lay, et al. “SHANK3 Deficiency Impairs Heat Hyperalgesia and TRPV1 Signaling in Primary Sensory Neurons..” Neuron 92, no. 6 (December 21, 2016): 1279–93.
Ji, Ru-Rong, Alexander Chamessian, and Yu-Qiu Zhang. “Pain regulation by non-neuronal cells and inflammation..” Science 354, no. 6312 (November 4, 2016): 572–77.
Sisignano, Marco, Carlo Angioni, Chul-Kyu Park, Sascha Meyer Dos Santos, Holger Jordan, Maria Kuzikov, Di Liu, et al. “Targeting CYP2J to reduce paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathic pain..” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113, no. 44 (November 1, 2016): 12544–49.
Liu, Chien-Cheng, Yong-Jing Gao, Hao Luo, Temugin Berta, Zhen-Zhong Xu, Ru-Rong Ji, and Ping-Heng Tan. “Interferon alpha inhibits spinal cord synaptic and nociceptive transmission via neuronal-glial interactions..” Sci Rep 6 (September 27, 2016).
Berta, T., Y. J. Qadri, G. Chen, and R. R. Ji. “Microglial Signaling in Chronic Pain with a Special Focus on Caspase 6, p38 MAP Kinase, and Sex Dependence..” J Dent Res 95, no. 10 (September 2016): 1124–31.