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

Selected Grants and Awards

Department Affiliation

  • Department of Anesthesiology


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.
Ji, Ru-Rong, Zhen-Zhong Xu, Gary Strichartz, and Charles N. Serhan. “Emerging roles of resolvins in the resolution of inflammation and pain..” Trends Neurosci 34, no. 11 (November 2011): 599–609.
Park, Chul-Kyu, Ning Lü, Zhen-Zhong Xu, Tong Liu, Charles N. Serhan, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Resolving TRPV1- and TNF-α-mediated spinal cord synaptic plasticity and inflammatory pain with neuroprotectin D1..” J Neurosci 31, no. 42 (October 19, 2011): 15072–85.
Xu, Zhen-Zhong, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Resolvins are potent analgesics for arthritic pain..” Br J Pharmacol 164, no. 2 (September 2011): 274–77.
Wen, Yeong-Ray, Ping-Heng Tan, Jen-Kun Cheng, Yen-Chin Liu, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Microglia: a promising target for treating neuropathic and postoperative pain, and morphine tolerance..” J Formos Med Assoc 110, no. 8 (August 2011): 487–94.
Brittain, Joel M., Djane B. Duarte, Sarah M. Wilson, Weiguo Zhu, Carrie Ballard, Philip L. Johnson, Naikui Liu, et al. “Suppression of inflammatory and neuropathic pain by uncoupling CRMP-2 from the presynaptic Ca²⁺ channel complex..” Nat Med 17, no. 7 (June 5, 2011): 822–29.
Tsuda, Makoto, Yuta Kohro, Takayuki Yano, Tomoko Tsujikawa, Junko Kitano, Hidetoshi Tozaki-Saitoh, Satoru Koyanagi, et al. “JAK-STAT3 pathway regulates spinal astrocyte proliferation and neuropathic pain maintenance in rats..” Brain 134, no. Pt 4 (April 2011): 1127–39.
Zhang, Ling, Temugin Berta, Zhen-Zhong Xu, Tong Liu, Jong Yeon Park, and Ru-Rong Ji. “TNF-α contributes to spinal cord synaptic plasticity and inflammatory pain: distinct role of TNF receptor subtypes 1 and 2..” Pain 152, no. 2 (February 2011): 419–27.
Suter, M. R., A. Siegenthaler, I. Decosterd, and R. R. Ji. “Perioperative nerve blockade: clues from the bench..” Anesthesiol Res Pract 2011 (2011).
Liu, Tong, Zhen-Zhong Xu, Chul-Kyu Park, Temugin Berta, and Ru-Rong Ji. “Toll-like receptor 7 mediates pruritus..” Nat Neurosci 13, no. 12 (December 2010): 1460–62.