Lintao Qu, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc.

Headshot of Lintao Qu
  • Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Research Interests

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of arthritis pain more


Dr. Qu is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery. His research interest mainly focuses on the peripheral neural mechanisms of chronic pain and itch in the context of nerve injury and inflammation using a combination of approaches, including immunohistochemistry, whole-cell recordings, calcium imaging, molecular biology, in vivo calcium imaging and electrophysiological recordings on the intact DRG, and pain related behavioral assessments.

Dr. Qu earned his Ph.D. degree from University of Western Ontario, Canada in 2009. After completion of his degree, He joined Dr. Robert LaMotte’s laboratory as a postdoc associate in the Department of Anesthesiology at Yale University. Dr. Qu joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2014. more


  • Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • M.Sc.; Capital Medical University (China) (2002)
  • M.D.; North China University of Science and Technology School of Medicine (China) (1999)
  • Ph.D.; University of Western Ontario (Canada) (2009)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Treatment for joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) continues to be a challenge and represents a large unmet medical need. Although RA pain is often thought to result from inflammation, it often persists even after optimal control of inflammation with currently available therapies, indicating the involvements of other non-inflammatory mechanisms. Our lab is exploring the potential inflammation-independent mechanisms of RA pain using mouse genetics and behavioral/physiological approaches. Moreover, to visualize and analyze the alterations of the activity of joint sensory neurons, we recently developed two powerful approaches, including in vivo dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuron imaging and in vivo electrophysiological recordings on the intact DRG. The long-term goal of my research is to illuminate a novel peripheral neural mechanism underlying RA pain independent of joint inflammation and define a promising therapeutic target for RA pain that is resistant to current anti-inflammatory treatments or occurs in patients for whom such treatments are infeasible or poorly tolerated.

Technology Expertise Keywords

arthritis pain, miRNAs, TRP channels, In Vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, In vivo DRG imaging

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Wang L, Jiang X, Zheng Q, Jeon SM, Chen T, Liu Y, Kulaga H, Reed R, Dong X, Caterina MJ, Qu L. (2019) Neuronal FcγRI mediates acute and chronic joint pain. J Clin Invest. Jun 18;130. doi: 10.1172/JCI128010. PubMed PMID: 31211699.

Qu L. and Caterina MJ. (2016).Enhanced excitability and suppression of A-type K+ currents in joint sensory neurons in a murine model of antigen-induced arthritis. Scientific Reports. 6:28899.   * Corresponding author

Qu L, Fu K, Yang J, Shimada S, and LaMotte RH. (2015). CXCR3 chemokine receptor signaling mediates itch in experimental allergic contact dermatitis. Pain. Sep;156(9):1737-1746. Featured as Editor’s Choice.

Qu L, Fan N, Ma C, Wang T, Han L, Fu K, Wang Y, Shimada S, Dong X and LaMotte RH. (2014) Enhanced excitability of MrgprA3+ and MrgprD+ nociceptors in a model of inflammatory itch and pain. Brain 137(Pt 4):1039-1050.

Han L, Ma C, Liu Q, McNeil B, Wend HJ, Cui Y, Tang Z, Kim. Y, Nie H, Qu L, Patel K, Li Z, Xiao B, LaMotte RH and Dong X. (2013). A subpopulation of nociceptors specifically linked to itch. Nat: Neurosci.16(2):174-182.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Cellular and Molecular Medicine Graduate Program

Activities & Honors


  • Society For Neuroscience (2005-current)
  • International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) (2010-current)
  • American Pain Society (2017-current)
  • The Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (2018-current)
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