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February 2010 Issue

Jianguo Gu, PhD, is a pain management researcherand a professor in UC’s department of anesthesiology.
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New Researcher Brings $1.8 Million in Funding to Study How Cold Temperatures Affect Pain

By Angela Koenig
Published February 2010

It makes perfect sense that a researcher would come to the University of Cincinnati from the University of Florida to study how cold temperatures affect pain, but research is conducted in a laboratory and that laboratory can be located anywhere.

The department of anesthesiology’s newest faculty member, Jianguo Gu, PhD, however, chose UC’s College of Medicine.

“I’d like to see us become one of the top pain research programs in the country—and that is possible,” says Gu, who brings with him $1.8 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Gu, whose focus is neuroscience and pain research, graduated from Shanghai First Medical College
in 1985. He spent four years at China Pharmaceutical University studying clinical pharmacology and conducted his graduate studies at the University of Manitoba in Canada, where he received his PhD in 1994.

He then studied the neuronal and molecular mechanisms of pain as a research associate at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.

In 1998, he took a faculty position at the University of Florida, where he spent 11 years studying pain at the cellular, sub-cellular and molecular level.

Specifically, his NIH research is focused on temperature-sensitive pain pertaining to cold, which can accompany conditions such as fibromyalgia. When you experience this type of pain, he says, “a blow of cooling wind in the spring can be like a knife cutting your face.”

His work, he says, involves understanding the basic foundations of pain.

“When we are very clear about the target we can design a specific drug to help alleviate pain,” he says.

“We’ve made real progress to help people, but in my lifetime I’d like to know that I’ve helped to alleviate pain with the advanced research we will conduct here.”

Also to his credit, Gu is the founder and editor-in-chief of Molecular Pain (molecularpain. com), an international scientific journal. He was born in Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu Province in China.

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