Image of Hu, Huijuan

Huijuan Hu, PhD

Assistant Professor

  • Department:Pharmacology & Physiology
  • Education: PhD - China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing
Research Overview

Dr. Huijuan Hu is interested in research pertaining to ion channels and pain plasticity.


Intracellular Ca2+ is essential for cellular functions such as neurotransmitter release.  Cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels are regulated by calcium influx through calcium permeable channels on the cell membrane.  Ca2+-release activated Ca2+ (CRAC) entry, also termed store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE), is a major mechanism for Ca2+ influx in non-excitable cells.  In contrast to the well-known function of SOC channels in non-excitable cells, the functional significance of SOCE in the CNS remains elusive.  Recently, it has been shown that calcium influx through SOC channels play a critical role in synaptic transmission. Dr. Hu's preliminary data suggests that SOC channels are expressed in spinal cord dorsal horn and DRG neurons. 

Studies in Dr. Hu's laboratory aim to identify the molecular components of SOC channels in two main regions of the pain neuraxis (primary sensory neurons, dorsal horn neurons), and investigate the role of SOC channels in synaptic plasticity and their signaling pathways in modulation of nociception.  We employ a variety of approaches, including behavioral tests, patch clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging, biochemical and molecular analysis to address the following questions:

  • Which molecular identities mediate SOC entry in DRG and dorsal horn neurons?
  • Are SOC channels involved in synaptic transmission in spinal cord?
  •  What are the signaling pathways involved in SOC channel activation?
  • Are SOC channels involved in pain plasticity?

These studies will help to elucidate the role of SOC channels in the pain pathway. Dr. Hu hopes to identify molecular targets to develop new treatments for chronic pain associated with injury and disease.


Dr. Hu is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Research Location

Department of Pharmacology & Physiology
245 North 15th Street
Mail Stop #488
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215-762-8534
Fax: 215-762-2299

Additional Information

Location: New College Building Room 8209

Email Dr. Hu

Related Pages

Pharmacology & Physiology

Biomedical Graduate Studies

Drug Discovery and Development Master's Degree Program

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