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Yun Guan, MD, PhD

Guan, MD

Associate Professor
Department of Anesthesiology/Critical Care Medicine

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
720 Rutland Ave, Ross 350
Baltimore, MD 21205
Phone: 410-502-5511
Fax: 410-614-7711
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The long-term goal of Dr. Guan’s research is to elucidate fully the peripheral (primary sensory neuron), spinal (secondary sensory neuron), and supraspinal (descending pain modulation) mechanisms of chronic pain and develop better strategies and novel targets for treatment of pathological pain conditions. His research is multidisciplinary in nature and encompasses electrophysiological, molecular biological, immunocytochemical, and behavioral pharmacological approaches to study neurobiological mechanisms of pain and hyperalgesia after tissue or nerve injury. He and his team have a number of ongoing research projects:

  1. They are using complementary animal behavioral, electrophysiological, and molecular biological approaches to assess the therapeutic utility of using MrgprC agonist to treat neuropathic pain. They are also investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the drug action. This research is funded by the NIH.
  2. They are also exploring the mechanisms of mu-opioid receptor-mediated analgesia in neuropathic pain, with particular emphasis on roles of mu- and delta-opioid receptor interaction in peripheral morphine tolerance. This research is funded by the NIH.
  3. They are examining the neurophysiologic and neurochemical mechanisms of spinal cord stimulation-induced analgesia and identifying the optimal stimulation parameters for its use in a model of chronic neuropathic pain. This research receives instrumental and financial support from Medtronic inc.
  4. They are working to establish in vivo electrophysiologic recording and imaging techniques with which to examine the functions of distinct subgroups of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in acute pain and chronic neuropathic pain conditions. Subgroups of DRG neurons are identified by using novel markers in MrgA3-tdTomato, MrgD-GFP, Pirt2-eGFP, and Pirt-GCaMP3 mouse lines. This research is funded by the Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute and Department of Anesthesiology/Critical Care Medicine
  5. They are studying pain after lumbar-spinal cord injury by establishing a novel animal model and exploring new treatment strategies. This research is funded by the Blaustein Pain Research Fund.

Professional Activities

  • Society of Neuroscience
  • American Pain Society
  • International Association for the Study of Pain

Selected Publications

  1. Guan Y, Wacnik WP, Yang F, Carteret AF, Chung CY, Meyer RA, Raja SN. Spinal cord stimulation-induced analgesia: Electrical stimulation of dorsal column and dorsal roots attenuates dorsal horn neuronal excitability in neuropathic rats. Anesthesiology 113(6):1392-405, 2010. Accompanied by an Editorial View.
  2. Guan Y, Liu Q, Tang Z, Raja SN, Anderson DJ*, Dong X*. The inhibitory effect of Mas-related G-protein-coupled receptors on pathological pain in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107(36):15933-15938, 2010.
  3. Seal RP, Wang X, Guan Y, Raja SN, Woodbury CJ, Basbaum AI, Edwards RH Unmyelinated low threshold mechanoreceptors are required for injury-induced mechanical hypersensitivity. Nature 462(7273):651-655, 2009.
  4. Guan Y, Johanek LM, Hartke TV, Shim B, Tao YX, Ringkamp M, Meyer RA, Raja SN. Peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor agonist attenuates neuropathic pain in rats after L5 spinal nerve injury. Pain 138(2):319-329, 2008.
  5. Guan Y, Borzan J, Meyer RA, Raja SN. Windup in dorsal horn neurons is modulated by endogenous spinal µ-opioid mechanisms. J Neurosci 26:4298-4307, 2006.

Laboratory Members/Key Associates

Lab Manager
Alene F. Carteret, MS

Postdoctoral Fellows
Shao-Qiu He, PhD
Alvin McKelvy, PhD
Fei Yang, PhD

Clinical Fellows
Andrei Sdrulla, MD, PhD
Ronen Shechter, MD

Faculty/Research Associates/Instructors
Jasenka Borzan, PhD, Research Associate
Srinivasa N. Raja, MD, Professor, Head of Laboratory


  • 1996 Outstanding graduate student, Peking Union Medical College
  • 1997 Outstanding graduate student, Peking Union Medical College
  • 2001 Second prize winner of the poster session in Pharmacology, University of Maryland Graduate Research Conference
  • 2002 First prize winner of the poster session in Cell Biology, University of Maryland Graduate Research Conference