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Biomedical Sciences
Huai-hu Chuang, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Molecular Physiology

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Phone: 607 253 4303

Primary sensory neurons encode environmental stimuli into electric signals. This task usually initiates with activation of modality-specific receptors that express in distinctive populations of nerve fibers. Many of the receptors involved in this transduction process are TRP family ion channels. The specificity of transduction channels to respond exclusively to a particular category of physical or chemical stimuli enables neurons to distinguish different environmental cues, even when the final outputs are universally a train of action potential spikes. Besides the modality specificity, transduction channels must generate the signal quantitatively matching the stimulus intensity in order to faithfully represent the environmental information. Modulation of transduction channels thus provides a powerful strategy to modify our subjective perception of the external world. We are interested in understanding the molecular basis of these modulations and their biomedical relevance.

Another area of my research interest is the logical designs of electrical signaling network in excitable cells. Neurons communicate with each other using a vast number of transmitters and ion channels. How does chemical transmission interact with the effectors to generate an electrical response? With many of the transmitters sharing the same second messengers, how is the efficiency and specificity of transmission established? We use a variety of methods including molecular biology, physiology, pharmacology and biophysics to tackle these problems.


School of Medicine at National Taiwan University (M.D.)
University of California (Ph.D., laboratory of Lily Jan)

Select Publications

  1. Zygmunt PM, Petersson J, Andersson DA, Chuang H, Sorgard M, Di Marzo V, Julius D, and Hogestatt ED. (1999). Vanilloid receptors on sensory nerves mediate the vasodilator action of anandamide. Nature, 400: 452-457.
  2. Whistler JL, Chuang H, Chu P, Jan LY, von Zastrow M, (1999). Functional dissociation of mu opioid receptor signaling and endocytosis: implications for the biology of opiate tolerance and addiction. Neuron, 23(4): 737-746.
  3. Chuang H, Prescott ED, Kong H, Shields S, Jordt SE, Basbaum AI, Chao MV, and Julius D. (2001) Bradykinin and nerve growth factor release the capsaicin receptor from PtdIns(4,5)P2-mediated inhibition. (2001) Nature, 411: 957-962.
  4. Jordt SE, Bautista DM, Chuang H, McKemy DD, Zygmunt PM, Hogestatt ED, Meng ID, Julius D. Mustard oils and cannabinoids excite sensory nerve fibres through the TRP channel ANKTM1. (2004) Nature, 427: 260-5.
  5. Chuang H, Neuhausser WM, Julius D. The super-cooling agent icilin reveals a mechanism of coincidence detection by a temperature sensitive TRP channel. (2004) Neuron, 43: 859-869.