Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Editorial Board Member, Analgesia & Resuscitation: Current Research

Yun Guan, MD, PhD’s multidisciplinary research focuses on mechanisms of chronic pain and developing better strategies and novel targets for treatment of pathological pain conditions.

His team is currently engaged in research that studies the neurobiological mechanisms of pain and hyperalgesia after tissue or nerve injury.

Dr. Guan earned his M.D. from Capital Medical University in Beijing, China. Following that, he completed an M.S. in neurophysiology at Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Maryland. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Guan joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2006.

He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the American Pain Society (APS), the International Association for the Study of Pain and the North American Neuromodulation Society.

Dr. Guan serves on the editorial board of Analgesia & Resuscitation: Current Research. His work has been recognized with numerous awards, most recently Gold Medal award of the 13th, 14th and 15th ACCM Research Day at Johns Hopkins University.

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:

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.
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.
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.
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
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.

Sessions at Neurovations Events

Select Publications

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.