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


Sisignano, Marco, Chul-Kyu Park, Carlo Angioni, Dong Dong Zhang, Christian von Hehn, Enrique J. Cobos, Nader Ghasemlou, et al. “5,6-EET is released upon neuronal activity and induces mechanical pain hypersensitivity via TRPA1 on central afferent terminals..” J Neurosci 32, no. 18 (May 2, 2012): 6364–72.
Serhan, Charles N., Jesmond Dalli, Sergey Karamnov, Alexander Choi, Chul-Kyu Park, Zhen-Zhong Xu, Ru-Rong Ji, Min Zhu, and Nicos A. Petasis. “Macrophage proresolving mediator maresin 1 stimulates tissue regeneration and controls pain..” Faseb J 26, no. 4 (April 2012): 1755–65.
Ji, Ru-Rong. “Recent progress in understanding the mechanisms of pain and itch..” Neurosci Bull 28, no. 2 (April 2012): 89–90.
Tan, P. H., Y. J. Gao, T. Berta, Z. Z. Xu, and R. R. Ji. “Short small-interfering RNAs produce interferon-α-mediated analgesia..” Br J Anaesth 108, no. 4 (April 2012): 662–69.
Liu, Tong, Yong-Jing Gao, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Emerging role of Toll-like receptors in the control of pain and itch..” Neurosci Bull 28, no. 2 (April 2012): 131–44.
Liu, Tong, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Oxidative stress induces itch via activation of transient receptor potential subtype ankyrin 1 in mice..” Neurosci Bull 28, no. 2 (April 2012): 145–54.
Liu, Yen-Chin, Temugin Berta, Tong Liu, Ping-Heng Tan, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Acute morphine induces matrix metalloproteinase-9 up-regulation in primary sensory neurons to mask opioid-induced analgesia in mice..” Mol Pain 8 (March 25, 2012).
Berta, Temugin, Tong Liu, Yen-Chin Liu, Zhen-Zhong Xu, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Acute morphine activates satellite glial cells and up-regulates IL-1β in dorsal root ganglia in mice via matrix metalloprotease-9..” Mol Pain 8 (March 22, 2012).
Xu, Z. Z., T. Berta, and R. R. Ji. “Resolvin E1 Inhibits Neuropathic Pain and Spinal Cord Microglial Activation Following Peripheral Nerve Injury.” Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 2012, 1–5.
Park, Chul-Kyu, Zhen-Zhong Xu, Tong Liu, Ning Lü, Charles N. Serhan, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Resolvin D2 is a potent endogenous inhibitor for transient receptor potential subtype V1/A1, inflammatory pain, and spinal cord synaptic plasticity in mice: distinct roles of resolvin D1, D2, and E1..” J Neurosci 31, no. 50 (December 14, 2011): 18433–38.