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 and research opportunities for highly motivated undergraduate students. Please contact Wenqin by email to inquire about open positions in our lab.

News and Announcements


Grad student Tariq Cannonier passed his candidacy exam!


Huasheng's automated itch analysis system is finally published in eLife!


Tariq joins our lab after his spring rotation. Welcome to our newest grad student!!