ASSISTANT PROFESSOR |School of Medicine, School of Medicine

Zilong Wang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the School of medicine, Southern University of Science and Technology. Dr. Wang graduated from Lanzhou University in 2011. He received his Ph.D from Lanzhou University in 2017. During the graduate study, he worked at Duke University as a visiting graduate student for 1 year. He had his postdoctoral training at Duke University. Dr. Wang’s research is focused on the molecular and cellular mechanism of pathological pain and itch, development of novel candidate analgesics and antipruritic. He has 34 publications, 10 of them are first author or co-corresponding author publications, including “Science Translational Medicine”、“Brain”、“Gastroenterology”、“Neuron” et al.. Dr. Wang has applied 7 patents in China and 3 PCTs and 1 patent in the United States.

Personal Profile


Our specific research interests are understanding mechanisms critical for pain and itch and identifying new targets that modulate pain and itch sensations. The long-term goal is developing powerful analgesics and anti-pruritics with limited side effects.

(1)Molecular and cellular mechanisms of opioid receptor signaling in health and disease;

(2)Development of novel candidate analgesics and antipruritics.

(3)Identify new targets for pain and itch treatments;

(4)Neuro-immune interaction in pain and itch;

(5)Molecular and cellular mechanism of pathological pain;

Publications Read More

  1. Zilong Wang1, Changyu Jiang1, Qianru He, Megumi Matsuda, Qingjian Han, Kaiyuan Wang, Sangsu Bang, Huiping Ding, Mei-Chuan Ko, Ru-Rong Ji*. Anti-PD-1 treatment impairs opioid antinociception in rodents and nonhuman primates. Science Translational Medicine. 2020; 12 (531): eaaw6471 (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  2. Zilong Wang1*, Changyu Jiang1, Hongyu Yao, Ouyang Chen, Sreya Rahman, Yun Gu, Yul Huh, & Ru-Rong Ji*. Central opioid receptors mediate morphine-induced itch and chronic itch. Brain. 2021 Mar 3;144(2):665-681(1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  3. Zilong Wang, Christopher R Donnelly, Ru-Rong Ji*. Scratching after Stroking and Poking: A Spinal Circuit Underlying Mechanical Itch. Neuron. 2019; 103: 952-954
  4. Yong Chen1*, Zilong Wang1, Michele Yeo, Qiao-Juan Zhang, Ana E. López-Romero, Alan E. Medina-Arellano, Hui-Ping Ding, Xin Zhang, Qian Zeng, Sara L. Morales-Lázaro, Carlene Moore, Ying-Ai Jin, Johannes Morstein, Andrey Bortsov, Marcin Krawczyk, Frank Lammert, Anna Mae Diehl, Piotr Milkiewicz, Andreas E. Kremer, Jennifer Y. Zhang, Andrea Nackley, Tony E. Reeves, Mei-Chuan Ko, Ru-Rong Ji, Tamara Rosenbaum, Wolfgang Liedtke*. Epithelia-sensory neuron crosstalk underlies cholestatic itch induced by lysophosphatidylcholine. Gastroenterology. Accepted (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  5. Zilong Wang, Jia-Xin Pan, Jing-Jing Song, Hong-Hai Tang, Hong-Ping Yu, Xu-Hui Li, Ning Li, Ting Zhang, Run Zhang, Meng-Na Zhang, Biao Xu, Quan Fang*, Rui Wang*. Structure-based optimization of multifunctional agonists for opioid and neuropeptide FF receptors with potent non-tolerance forming analgesic activities. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2016, 59 (22), 10198-10208.
  6. Sharat Chandra1, Zilong Wang1, Xueshu Tao, Ouyang Chen, Xin Luo, Ru-Rong Ji, Andrey V. Bortsov. Computer-aided Discovery of a New Nav1.7 Inhibitor for Treatment of Pain and Itch. Anesthesiology. 2020; In Press. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  7. Zilong Wang, Biao Xu, Changyu Jiang, Ting Zhang, Mengna Zhang, Ning Li, Qinqin Zhang, Kangtai Xu, Dan Chen, Jian Xiao, Quan Fang*. Spinal DN-9, a peptidic multifunctional opioid/neuropeptide FF agonist produced potent nontolerance forming analgesia with limited side effects. Journal of Pain, 2020, 21(3–4), 477−493
  8. Zilong Wang1, Ning Li1, Pei Wang, Hong-hai Tang, Zheng-lan Han, Jing-jing Song, Xu-hui Li, Hong-ping Yu, Ting Zhang, Run Zhang, Biao Xu, Meng-na Zhang, Quan Fang*, Rui Wang*. Pharmacological characterization of EN-9, a novel chimeric peptide of endomorphin-2 and neuropeptide FF that produces potent antinociceptive activity and limited tolerance. Neuropharmacology. 2016; 108: 364-372 (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  9. Yang Suo, Zilong Wang, Lejla Zubcevic, Allen L Hsu, Qianru He, Mario J Borgnia, Ru-Rong Ji, Seok-Yong Lee. Structural insights into electrophile irritant sensing by the human TRPA1 channel. Neuron, 2020; 105 (5), 882-894.e5
  10. Christopher R Donnelly, Changyu Jiang, Amanda S Andriessen, Kaiyuan Wang, Zilong Wang, Huiping Ding, Junli Zhao, Xin Luo, Michael S Lee, Yu L Lei, William Maixner, Mei-Chuan Ko, Ru-Rong Ji. STING controls nociception via type I interferon signaling in sensory neurons. Nature, 2021 Mar;591(7849):275-280.
  11. Qingjian Han1, Di Liu1, Marino Convertino, Zilong Wang, Changyu Jiang, Yong Ho Kim, Xin Luo, Xin Zhang, Andrea Nackley, Nikolay V Dokholyan, Ru-Rong Ji*. miRNA-711 Binds and Activates TRPA1 Extracellularly to Evoke Acute and Chronic Pruritus. Neuron. 2018 Aug 8;99(3):449-463.e6. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  12. Sangsu Bang1, Ya-Kai Xie1, Zhi-Jun Zhang1, Zilong Wang, Zhen-Zhong Xu*, Ru-Rong Ji*. GPR37 regulates macrophage phagocytosis and resolution of inflammatory pain. J Clin Invest. 2018 Aug 1;128(8):3568-3582. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  13. Sangsu Bang1, Christopher R. Donnelly1, Xin Luo1, Maria Toro-Moreno, Xueshu Tao, Zilong Wang, Sharat Chandra, Andrey V. Bortsov, Emily R. Derbyshire, Ru-Rong Ji. Activation of GPR37 in macrophages confers protection against infection-induced sepsis and pain-like behaviour in mice. Nature Communications. 2021; 12(1):1704
  14. Zilong Wang1, Quan Fang1, Zheng-lan Han, Jia-xin Pan, Xu-hui Li, Ning Li, Hong-hai Tang, Pei Wang, Ting Zheng, Xue-mei Chang, Rui Wang*. Opposite effects of neuropeptide FF on central antinociception induced by endomorphin-1 and endomorphin-2 in mice. Plos One, 2014; 9(8):e103773. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  15. 15. Jia-Xin Pan1, Zilong Wang1, Ning Li, Nan Zhang, Pei Wang, Hong-Hai Tang, Ting Zhang, Hong-Ping Yu, Run Zhang, Ting Zheng, Quan Fang*, Rui Wang*. Effects of neuropeptide FF and related peptides on the antinociceptive activities of VD-hemopressin(α) in naive and cannabinoid-tolerant mice. European Journal of Pharmacology. 2015; 767(C):119-125. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  16. Zheng-lan Han, Zilong Wang, Xu-hui Li, Ning Li, Jia-xin Pan, Ting Zheng, Quan Fang*, Rui Wang*. Neuropeptide VF Enhances Cannabinoid Agonist WIN55,212-2-Induced Antinociception in Mice. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2015, Nov;121(5):1360-8.
  17. Zheng-lan Han, Zilong Wang, Hong-zhu Tang, Ning Li, Quan Fang, Xu-hui Li, Xiong-li Yang, Xiao-yu Zhang, Rui Wang*. Neuropeptide FF attenuates the acquisition and the expression of conditioned place aversion to endomorphin-2 in mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 2013; 248(1):51-56.
  18. Jia-Xin Pan, Zilong Wang, Ning Li, Zheng-Lan Han, Xu-Hui Li, Hong-Hai Tang, Pei Wang, Ting Zheng, Quan Fang*, Rui Wang*. Analgesic tolerance and cross-tolerance to the cannabinoid receptors ligands hemopressin, VD-hemopressin(α) and WIN55,212-2 at the supraspinal level in mice. Neuroscience Letters, 2014, 578:187–191.
  19. Ning Li1, Zhenglan Han1, Zilong Wang, Yanhong Xing, Yulong Sun, Xuhui Li, Jingjing Song, Ting Zhang, Run Zhang, Mengna Zhang, Biao Xu, Quan Fang*, Rui Wang*. BN-9, a chimeric peptide with mixed opioid and NPFF receptors agonistic properties, produces nontolerance-forming antinociception in mice. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2016; 173(11): 1864-1880. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  20. Yong Chen, Quan Fang, Zilong Wang, Jennifer Y Zhang, Amanda S MacLeod, Russell P Hall, Wolfgang B Liedtke*. Transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 ion channel functions as a pruriceptor in epidermal keratinocytes to evoke histaminergic itch. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2016; 291:10252-10262
  21. Li XH1, Lin ML1, Zilong Wang, Wang P, Tang HH, Lin YY, Li N, Fang Q*, Wang R*. Central administrations of hemopressin and related peptides inhibit gastrointestinal motility in mice. Neurogastroenterology&Motility. 2016; 28(6):891-9. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  22. Zheng-lan Han1, Quan Fang1, Zilong Wang, Xu-hui Li, Ning Li, Xue-mei Chang, Jia-xin Pan, Hong-zhu Tang, Rui Wang*. Antinociceptive effects of central administration of the endogenous cannabinoid receptor type 1 agonist VDPVNFKLLSH-OH [(m)VD-hemopressin(a)], an N-Terminally extended Hemopressin peptide. J Pharmacol Exp Ther, 2014, 348:316–323. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  23. Quan Fang, Zheng-Lan Han, Ning Li, Zilong Wang, Ning He, Rui Wang*. Effects of neuropeptide FF system on CB1 and CB2 receptors mediated antinociception in mice. Neuropharmacology, 2012; 62 (2): 855-864.
  24. Wangsheng Sun, Liang Hong, Gongming Zhu, Zilong Wang, Xiaojin Wei, Jingman Ni*, Rui Wang*. An organocatalytic michael−michael cascade for the enantioselective construction of spirocyclopentane bioxindoles: control of four contiguous stereocenters. Org. Lett. 2014, 16, 544−547.
  25. Liu1, Yuan Wang1, Yanhong Xing1, Jing Yu, Hong Ji, Ming Kai, Zilong Wang, Dan Wang, Yixin Zhang, Depeng Zhao, Rui WangDesign, synthesis, and pharmacological characterization of novel endomorphin-1 analogues as extremely potent μ-opioid agonists. J Med Chem. 2013; 56 (7): 3102-14. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  26. Biao Xu, Mengna Zhang, Xuerui Shi, Run Zhang, Dan Chen, Yong Chen, Zilong Wang, Yu Qiu, Ting Zhang, Kangtai Xu, Xiaoyu Zhang, Wolfgang Liedtke, Rui Wang*, Quan Fang*. The multifunctional peptide DN-9 produced peripherally acting antinociception in inflammatory and neuropathic pain via mu and kappa opioid receptors. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2020; 177 (1), 93-109
  27. Ting Zhang, Zhenglan Han, Xuerui Shi, Weidong Zhao, Zilong Wang, Run Zhang, Biao Xu, Mengna Zhang, Qinqin Zhang, Jian Xiao, Hanwen Zhu, Ting Zheng, Quan Fang*. Preemptive intrathecal administration of endomorphins relieves inflammatory pain in male mice via inhibition of p38 MAPK signaling and regulation of inflammatory cytokines. Journal of neuroinflammation. 2019. 15 (1), 320
  28. Chao Chen, Biao Xu, Xuerui Shi, Mengna Zhang, Qinqin Zhang, Ting Zhang, Weidong Zhao, Run Zhang, Zilong Wang, Ning Li, Quan Fang*. GpTx-1 and [Ala5, Phe6, Leu26, Arg28] GpTx-1, two peptide NaV1.7 inhibitors: analgesic and tolerance properties at the spinal level. British journal of pharmacology. 2018 175 (20), 3911-3927
  29. Xu-hui Li1, Ning Li1, Zilong Wang, Jia-xin Pan, Zheng-lan Han, Xue-mei Chang, Hong-hai Tang, Pei Wang, Rui Wang*, Quan Fang*. The hypotensive effect of intrathecally injected (m)VD-hemopressin(α) in urethane-anesthetized rats. Peptides, 2014, 56:45–51. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)
  30. Hong-ping Yu, Nan Zhang, Ting Zhang, Zilong Wang, Ning Li, Hong-hai Tang, Run Zhang, Meng-na Zhang, Biao Xu, Quan Fang*, Rui Wang*.Activation of NPFF2 receptor stimulates neurite outgrowth in Neuro 2A cells through activation of ERK signaling pathway. Peptides. 2016 Sep 23;86:24-32.
  31. Zhang T, Han ZL, Shi XR, Zhao WD, Zilong Wang, Zhang R, Xu B, Zhang MN, Zhang QQ, Xiao J, Zhu HW, Zheng T, Fang Q*. Discovery of two novel branched peptidomimetics containing endomorphin-2 and RF9 pharmacophores: Synthesis and neuropharmacological evaluation. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry. 2019, 27 (4), 630-643
  32. Run Zhang, Biao Xu, Meng-na Zhang, Ting Zhang, Zilong Wang, Geng Zhao, Guang-hai Zhao, Ning Li, Quan Fang*, Rui Wang*. Peripheral and central sites of action for anti-allodynic activity induced by the bifunctional opioid/NPFF receptors agonist BN-9 in inflammatory pain model. European journal of pharmacology. 2017 813, 122-129
  33. Ting Zheng, Ting Zhang, Run Zhang, Zilong Wang, Zheng-Lan Han, Ning Li, Xu-Hui Li, Meng-Na Zhang, Biao Xu, Xiong-Li Yang, Quan Fang*, Rui Wang*. Pharmacological characterization of rat VD-hemopressin (α), an α-hemoglobin-derived peptide exhibiting cannabinoid agonist-like effects in mice. Neuropeptides. 2017 63, 83-90
  34. Ning Li1, Zheng-lan Han1, Quan Fang*, Zilong Wang, Hong-zhu Tang, Hui Ren, Rui Wang*. Neuropeptide FF and related peptides attenuates warm-, but not cold-water swim stress-induced analgesia in mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 2012; 233(2): 428-433. (1: authors contributed equally to this work)

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