Han-Rong Weng, PhD

Weng, Han RongEducation

  • MD, Clinical Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University School of Medicine
  • PhD, Physiology (Neuroscience), Lund University
  • Postdoctoral Study, Neuroscience, John Hopkins Hospital
  • Postdoctoral Study, Neuroscience, University of Maryland

Research Interest

The long-term research goal of Dr. Weng’s lab is to identify therapeutic molecular targets for the development of analgesics to help the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic pain due to the lack of effective and safe analgesics. Specifically, research in his lab is focused on identifying molecular signaling pathways used by glial cells to cause aberrant neuronal activation at the spinal cord in animals with pathological pain induced by nerve injury, chemotherapy agents, and inflammation. He is particularly interested in examining glial-neuronal interactions, neuroinflammation, and epigenetic mechanisms in the genesis of pathological pain. Cutting-edge research techniques are used in Dr. Weng’s lab, including molecular biology, patch clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging, genetics, immunohistology, cell cultures, and behavior tests.


  • Yan, X., Li, F., Maixner, D.W., Yadav, R., Gao, M., Ali, M.W., Hooks, S.B., Weng, H.R. (2019). Interleukin-1beta released by microglia initiates the enhanced glutamatergic activity in the spinal dorsal horn during paclitaxel-associated acute pain syndrome. Glia 67(3), 482-497. doi: 10.1002/glia.23557
  • Yadav, R. & Weng, H.R. (2017). EZH2 regulates spinal neuroinflammation in rats with neuropathic pain. Neuroscience 349, 106-117. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.02.041
  • Yan X, Maixner DW, Li F, Weng H.R. (2017). Chronic pain and impaired glial glutamate transporter function in lupus-prone mice are ameliorated by blocking macrophage colony-stimulating factor-1 receptors. Journal of Neurochemistry 140, 963-976. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13952
  • Maixner, D. W., Yan, X., Hooks, S.B., Weng, H.R. (2016). AMPKα1 knockout enhances nociceptive behaviors and spinal glutamatergic synaptic activities via production of reactive oxygen species in the spinal dorsal horn. Neuroscience, 326, 158- 69. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.03.061
  • Yadav, R., Yan, X., Maixner, D. W., Gao, M., Weng, H.R. (2015). Blocking the GABA transporter GAT-1 ameliorates spinal GABAergic disinhibition and neuropathic pain induced by paclitaxel. Journal of Neurochemistry 133, 857-69. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13103
  • Maixner, D. W., Yan, X., Yadav, R., Gao, M., Weng, H.R. (2015). Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase regulates production of interleukin-1beta and glial glutamate transporter function in rodents with neuropathic pain. Anesthesiology 122, 1401-13. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000619
  • Yan, X, Jiang, E., Weng, H.R. (2015). Activation of toll like receptor 4 attenuates GABA synthesis and postsynaptic GABA receptor activities in the spinal dorsal horn via releasing interleukin-1 beta. Journal of Neuroinflammation 12, 222. doi: 10.1186/s12974-014-0222-3
  • Yan, X., Yadav, R., Gao, M., Weng, H.R. (2014). Interleukin-1 beta enhances endocytosis of glial glutamate transporters in the spinal dorsal horn through activating protein kinase C. Glia 62 (7), 1093-109. doi: 10.1002/glia.22665
  • Yan, X. & Weng, H.R. (2013). Endogenous interleukin-1beta in neuropathic rats enhances glutamate release from the primary afferents in the spinal dorsal horn through coupling with presynaptic NMDA receptors. Journal of Biological Chemistry 288 (42), 30544-30557.  doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.495465
  • Yan, X., Jiang, E., Weng, H.R. (2013). Endogenous activation of presynaptic NMDA receptors enhances glutamate release from the primary afferents in the spinal dorsal horn in a rat model of neuropathic pain. Journal of Physiology (London) 591(7), 2001-19. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.250522

Click here to see a complete list of Dr. Weng’s work.


  • Principal Investigator, NIH RO1 (R01 NS107569-01), Targeting GPR109A for the treatment of pain in systemic lupus erythematosus, 06/01/18 – 05/31/2023; $1,686,780
  • Principal Investigator, NIH RO1 grant (R01NS064289-01A1), GLIAL-CYTOKINE-NEURONAL INTERACTIONS IN NEUROPATHIC PAIN, 07/01/09 – 06/31/15; $1,206,493

Professional Involvement

  • Member of NIH Study Section, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Pain Research
  • Research Topic editor, Frontiers in Pain Research

Contact Dr. Han-Rong Weng