We are pleased to announce that Ru-Rong Ji, PhD, distinguished professor of anesthesiology in the Duke University School of Medicine, has been named the director of Duke Anesthesiology’s Center for Translational Pain Medicine (CTPM). This appointment comes after Ji’s three years of service as co-director of the center, a position he served in alongside the late William “Bill” Maixner, DDS, PhD.
The CTPM launched in January of 2016, further expanding our department’s clinical and research program in innovative pain therapies by bringing together, under one umbrella, leading basic scientists, clinicians and clinical researchers with the core mission of unraveling the causes of painful conditions to improve patient care. The center recently received the rare and prestigious designation as a National Center of Excellence through an $8.5 million National Institutes of Health Program Project Grant (PPG), the first PPG in 40 years awarded to our department.
Ji joined the Duke faculty in 2012 and is one of our department’s most distinguished faculty. His research career, ultimately spanning three continents, has focused on the molecular basis of pain. His work has significant translational potential in almost all areas of pain medicine. Ji is internationally-recognized for his contributions to demonstrating critical roles of MAP kinase signaling pathways, glial cells, and neuroinflammation in the pathogenesis of chronic pain. He also serves as the director of the Sensory Plasticity and Pain Research Laboratory. Among his many accolades, Ji was awarded the prestigious 2020 American Society of Anesthesiologists Excellence in Research Award and was once again named among the most “Highly Cited Researchers” in the world – one of just 22 faculty from the Duke University School of Medicine to make the 2020 list.
Before arriving at Duke, Ji served as an associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He earned a PhD in neurobiology at Shanghai Institute of Physiology and completed postdoctoral training at Peking (Beijing) University Medical School, Karolinska Institute, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Please join us in extending congratulations to Ji on his new role in our department. As we look forward to Ji advancing the mission of the CTPM, we remain deeply indebted to Dr. Maixner for his innovative vision of the center – a vision which through his extraordinary leadership and mentorship, he brought to fruition at Duke and is now internationally-recognized as a best-in-class translational pain medicine program.