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


Han, Qingjian, Di Liu, Marino Convertino, Zilong Wang, Changyu Jiang, Yong Ho Kim, Xin Luo, et al. “miRNA-711 Binds and Activates TRPA1 Extracellularly to Evoke Acute and Chronic Pruritus.” Neuron 99, no. 3 (August 8, 2018): 449-463.e6.
Bang, Sangsu, Ya-Kai Xie, Zhi-Jun Zhang, Zilong Wang, Zhen-Zhong Xu, and Ru-Rong Ji. “GPR37 regulates macrophage phagocytosis and resolution of inflammatory pain.” J Clin Invest 128, no. 8 (August 1, 2018): 3568–82.
Luo, Xin, Bethany Fitzsimmons, Apoorva Mohan, Linlin Zhang, Niccolo Terrando, Holly Kordasiewicz, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Intrathecal administration of antisense oligonucleotide against p38α but not p38β MAP kinase isoform reduces neuropathic and postoperative pain and TLR4-induced pain in male mice.” Brain Behav Immun 72 (August 2018): 34–44.
Ji, Ru-Rong, Andrea Nackley, Yul Huh, Niccolò Terrando, and William Maixner. “Neuroinflammation and Central Sensitization in Chronic and Widespread Pain.” Anesthesiology 129, no. 2 (August 2018): 343–66.
Price, Theodore J., Allan I. Basbaum, Jacqueline Bresnahan, Jan F. Chambers, Yves De Koninck, Robert R. Edwards, Ru-Rong Ji, et al. “Transition to chronic pain: opportunities for novel therapeutics.” Nat Rev Neurosci 19, no. 7 (July 2018): 383–84.
Chamessian, Alexander, Michael Young, Yawar Qadri, Temugin Berta, Ru-Rong Ji, and Thomas Van de Ven. “Transcriptional Profiling of Somatostatin Interneurons in the Spinal Dorsal Horn.” Sci Rep 8, no. 1 (May 1, 2018): 6809.
Qadri, Yawar J., and Ru-Rong Ji. “Dorsal root ganglia pulsed radiofrequency treatment alters the spinal immune environment.” Brain Behav Immun 70 (May 2018): 6–7.
Chen, Gang, Xin Luo, M Yawar Qadri, Temugin Berta, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Sex-Dependent Glial Signaling in Pathological Pain: Distinct Roles of Spinal Microglia and Astrocytes.” Neurosci Bull 34, no. 1 (February 2018): 98–108.
Bang, Sangsu, Jiho Yoo, Xingrui Gong, Di Liu, Qingjian Han, Xin Luo, Wonseok Chang, et al. “Differential Inhibition of Nav1.7 and Neuropathic Pain by Hybridoma-Produced and Recombinant Monoclonal Antibodies that Target Nav1.7 : Differential activities of Nav1.7-targeting monoclonal antibodies.” Neurosci Bull 34, no. 1 (February 2018): 22–41.
Ji, Ru-Rong. “Recent Progress in Understanding the Mechanisms of Pain and Itch: the Second Special Issue.” Neurosci Bull 34, no. 1 (February 2018): 1–3.