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Department of Anesthesiology

Yuanxiang Tao, MSc, PhD, MD

Vice Chair, Of Research


Department of Anesthesiology

Medical Science Building (MSB)
185 South Orange Avenue Room E-661
Newark, NJ 07101
Phone: (973) 972-9812
Fax: (973) 972-1644

Clinical Info

Medical Expertise

Nanjing Medical University, China, B.Sc./M.D., 1986, Medicine
Nanjing Medical University, China, M.Sc., 1992,Neurobiology/Anatomy
Shanghai Brain Research Institute,China,Ph.D.,1997,Neuroscience/pain







Positions and Employment
1986 to 1992 Instructor - Department of Anatomy, Nanjing Medical University
1992 to 1994 Assistant Professor - Department of Anatomy, Nanjing Medical University
1997 to 1999 Post-Doctoral Fellow - Department of Anesthesiology, University of Virginia
1999 to 2000 Instructor - Department of Anesthesiology, Johns Hopkins University, USA
2001 to 2004 Assistant Professor - Department of Anesthesiology, Johns Hopkins University,
2005 to 2013 Associate Professor - Department of Anesthesiology, Johns Hopkins University
2013,7- Professor and Vice Chair of Research - Department of Anesthesiology, New Jersey Medical School (NJMS)
Advisory Committees:
2009-2013 Junior Faculty Advisory Committee, Brain Science Institute at Hopkins
2009-2013 The Scholarship Oversight Committees for the Neonatology Fellows at Hopkins
2009-2013 Core Faculty in Interdisciplinary Training Program in Biobehavioral Pain Research at Hopkins
2013- MD/PhD committee at NJMS, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Editorial Advisory Boards
2007- The Open Anesthesiology Journal
2008- The Open Pain Journal
2009- Journal of Medical Sciences
2009- Journal Biomedical Research
1996 Outstanding PhD Student from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
1996 Beckman Outstanding Young Scientist Award from BECKMAN Instruments.
1999 Remarkable Contribution to Nature and Science from the Chinese Academy of Sciences
2011 Rita Allen Foundation Pain Scholar, APS



MSc, 1992, Nanjing Medical University, China
PhD, 1997, Shanghai Brain Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Science
MD, 1986, Nanjing Medical University, China


Curriculum Vitae

View CV






Relevant Publications:

Xu JT, Zhao J, Zhao X, Ligons D, Tiwari V, Lee CY, Atianjoh FE, Liang L, Zang W, Njoku D, Raja SN, Yaster M, Tao YX. Opioid receptor-triggered spinal mTORC1 activation contributes to morphine tolerance and hyperalgesia. J Clin Invest 124(2014)592-603.
Zhao X, Tang Z, Zhang H, Atianjoh FE, Zhao J, Liang L, Wang W, Guan, Kao SC, Tiwari V, Hoffman PN, Gao Y, Cui H, Li M, Dong X, Tao YX. A native long noncoding RNA contributes to neuropathic pain by silencing Kcna2 in primary afferent neurons. Nat Neurosci 16 (2013) 1024-1031.
Kopach O, Kao SC, Petralia RS, Belan P, Voitenko N, Tao YX. Inflammation alters trafficking of extrasynaptic AMPA receptors in tonically firing lamina II neurons of the rat dorsal horn. Pain 152 (2011) 912-923.
Cui L, Miao X, Liang L, Abdus-Saboor I, Olson W, Fleming MS, Ma M, Tao YX, Luo W. Identification of early RET+ deep dorsal spinal cord interneurons in gating pain. Neuron (2016) 1-17.
Zhang J, Liang L, Miao X, Wu S, Cao J, Tao B, Mao Q, Mo K, Xiong M, Lutz BM, Bekker A, Tao YX. Contribution of the histone methyltransferase SUV39H1 in dorsal root ganglion and spinal cord to neuropathic pain. Anesthesiology (2016) In Press
Park JS, Voitenko N, Petralia RS, Guan X, Xu XT, Steinberg JP, Talamiya K, Sotnik A, Kopach O, Huganir RL, Tao YX. Persistent inflammation induces GluR2 internalization via NMDA receptor-triggered PKC activation in dorsal horn neurons. J Neurosci 29 (2009)3206-19.
Liaw WJ, Stephens Jr. RL, . Binns BC, Chu Y, Sepkuty J, Johns RA, Rothsein JD, Tao YX. Spinal glutamate uptake is critical for maintaining normal excitatory synaptic transmission in rat spinal cord. Pain 115 (2005) 60-70.
Tao YX, Raja SN. Are synaptic MAGUK proteins involved in chronic pain? Trends Pharmacol Sci 25 (2003) 397-400
Fang M, Tao YX, He F, Zhang M, Levine CF, Mao P, Chou CL, Sadegh-Nasseri S, Johns RA. Synaptic PDZ protein interactions are disrupted by inhalational anesthetics. J Biol Chem 278 (2003) 36669-36675.
Tao YX, Rumbaugh G, Wang GD, Zhao C, Kauer F, Tao F, Zhuo M, Raja SN, Huganir RL, Bredt DS, Johns RA. Impaired NMDA receptor-mediated postsynaptic function and blunted NMDA receptor-dependent persistent pain in mice lacking PSD-93. J Neurosci 23 (2003) 6703-12.


Current Research

Molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying chronic pain and opioid tolerance

Research in my lab focuses on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie chronic pain and opioid-induced analgesic tolerance and hyperalgesia. Chronic pain is a major public health problem. Despite intensive research into the neurobiological mechanism of chronic pain during the past decades, our understanding of chronic pain is still in its infancy and its treatment is often poorly managed by current drugs. Opioids are still the gold standard for chronic pain management in the clinical setting. However, the long-term use of the opioids produces opioid analgesic tolerance, opioid-induced hyperalgesia, and other side effects. Thus, uncovering the mechanisms underlying chronic pain and opioid-induced tolerance and hyperalgesia may develop novel therapeutic strategies for prevention and/or treatment of these disorders.
Research projects in my laboratory have attempted to address questions regarding two
different aspects of pain and opioid analgesia: (1) how neuronal PDZ domain-containing
scaffolding proteins participate in the development and maintenance of chronic pain and
opioid-induced analgesic tolerance and hyperalgesia and (2) how peripheral noxious stimuli change glutamate receptor subunit trafficking at synaptic and extrasynaptic sites of dorsal horn neurons and whether these changes are required for chronic pain induction and expression. We have made considerable measurable progress, including two approved patents and one pending patent resulting from these studies.
Ongoing projects include: (1) Identification of long noncoding RNAs and their involvements in chronic pain; (2) Translational regulation that underlies chronic opioid tolerance and hyperalgesia; (3) Gene transcriptional changes in chronic pain; and (4) Molecular mechanisms of sickle cell disease-associated pain. The analytical methodology includes molecular biology, morphology, biochemistry, electrophysiology, and behavioral tests.



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