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Huijuan Hu

Huijuan Hu, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department: Pharmacology & Physiology


  • PhD - China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing

Huijuan Hu, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Research Overview

Dr. Hu is interested in research pertaining to ion channels and pain plasticity.


Intracellular Ca2+ is essential for cellular functions such as neurotransmitter release. Cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels are regulated by calcium influx through calcium permeable channels on the cell membrane. Ca2+ -release activated Ca2+ (CRAC) entry, also termed store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE), is a major mechanisms for Ca2+ influx in non-excitable cells. In contrast to the well-known function of SOC channels in non-excitable cells, the functional significance of SOCE in the CNS remains elusive. Calcium influx through SOC channels play a critical role in synaptic transmission.  Previous studies from Dr. Hu’s laboratory have demonstrated that SOC channels are expressed in spinal cord dorsal horn neurons and a SOC channel inhibitor YM-58483 strongly attenuates inflammatory and neuropathic pain by systemic or intrathecal administration, suggesting a potential role of SOC channels in chronic pain associated with central sensitization.

Studies in Dr. Hu’s laboratory aim to understand the mechanisms underlying the development of chronic pain and to identify novel drug targets for the treatment of chronic pain. Her current research focuses on identifying endogenous upstream molecules of the SOC signaling and exploring functional consequences of SOC channel activation. This research is fully funded by the NIH. These studies will elucidate the role of SOC channels in the pain pathway and provide novel insights into mechanisms underlying chronic pain. The laboratory employs a variety of approaches, including behavioral tests, patch clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging, biochemical and molecular biology to examine the role of these channels in neuropathic and arthritic pain.

Research Interests

Calcium permeable ion channels, synaptic transmission, mechanisms underlying neuropathic and inflammatory pain.


"A store-operated calcium channel inhibitor attenuates collagen-induced arthritis channels in rheumatoid arthritis"
Gao X, Gao R, Tian Y, McGonigle P, Barrett JE, Dai Y and  Hu H
British Journal Pharmacol., 172: 2991-3002, 2015

"Native store-operated calcium channels are functionally expressed in mouse spinal cord dorsal horn neurons and regulate resting calcium homeostasis"
Xia J, Pan R, Gao X, Meucci O, Hu H
Journal Physiol., 592(Pt 16):3443-61, 2014

"Potent analgesic effects of a store-operated calcium channel inhibitor"
Gao R, Gao X, Xia J, Tian Y, Barrett JE and Hu HJ
Pain, 154(10):2034-44, 2013

"Central Mechanisms of Menthol-induced Analgesia"
Pan R, Tian Y, Gao R, Li H, Barrett J, Hu HJ
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 343 (3):661-72, 2012

"Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 5 Regulates Excitability and Kv4.2- Containing K+ channels Primarily in Excitatory Neurons of the Spinal Dorsal Horn"
Hu, HJ and Gereau RW
Journal Neurophysiol., 105(6):3010-21, 2011

"Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 modulates nociceptive plasticity via ERK-KV4.2 signaling pathway"
Hu HJ, Alter BJ, Carrasquilo Y, Qiu, CS, Gereau RW 4th
Journal of Neuroscience, 27 (48):13181-9, 2007

"The KV4.2 K+ channel subunit is required for pain plasticity"
Hu HJ, Carrasquillol Y, Karim K, Jung WE, Nerbonne JM, Schwarz TL, Gereau RW 4th
Neuron, 50(1):89-100, 2006

Contact Information

Research Office

Department of Pharmacology & Physiology
245 N. 15th Street
Mail Stop 488
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215.762.3566
Fax: 215.762.2299