Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Wenqin Luo Lab

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Molecular, Genetic, and Behavioral Studies of Somatosensation

Research in the Luo lab is aimed at understanding the neurobiology of somatosensation. Broadly speaking, the lab uses the mouse as a model organism to focus on the following questions:

  • What are the functional circuits governing the expression of touch, pain, and itch behaviors, and what are the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these circuits?
  • What salient molecular, behavioral, and cognitive features allow for the differentiation between responses to pain and itch?
  • How is somatosensory information coded and conveyed at anatomical, molecular, and circuit levels?
  • What molecular and circuit level changes are associated with the manifestation of pathological conditions of pain often seen in human disease?
  • What are the molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating the development of somatosensory circuits?

Our work employs a wide variety of cellular and molecular techniques, mouse genetic tools, mouse behavior assays, and physiological recordings to help us answer these questions.

Open Positions

Our lab is currently seeking highly motivated postdoctoral fellows with relevant experience in neuroscience, genetics, molecular biology, and related fields. We also have rotation projects available for new graduate students. Please contact Wenqin by email to inquire about research opportunities in our lab.

News and Announcements


Congrats to postdoc, Nathan T. Fried, for winning a poster award at the 2018 IRACDA teaching and research conference at Emory University for the poster entitled, "A Mouse Pain Scale: Assessment of Pain Sensation in Mice Using Sub-second Behavioral Mapping and Statistical Modeling"


A BIG congrats to graduate student Kim Kridsada and former postdoc / lab alum Jingwen Niu for their paper «Roof plate-derived radial glial-like cells support developmental growth of rapidly adapting mechanoreceptor ascending axons», which was published in Cell Reports!


Congrats to graduate student Suna Li for passing her prelim exam! Fantastic! Shortly after, Suna was appointed as a Hearst Foundation Fellow by the Neuroscience Graduate Group! Awesome!