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Shaoping Hou

Shaoping Hou, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department: Neurobiology & Anatomy


  • PhD in Neuroscience - Capital Medical University, Beijing (2006)

Awards & Honors

  • Scholarly Materials and Equipment Research Award, for Radio-telemetric System (2017)

Dr. Hou is a research assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Research Interests

Autonomic dysfunction after spinal cord injury, axon regeneration, neural stem cells, dopamine, serotonin and optogenetics


Dr. Hou completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Kentucky and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). In 2012, he joined the Spinal Cord Research Center at the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, Drexel University College of Medicine to continue his research into autonomic dysfunction after spinal cord injury (SCI).

Traumatic SCI results not only in motor and sensory deficits but also in autonomic dysfunctions. The disruption of supraspinal autonomic pathways renders abnormalities in multiple systems including compromised cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, gastrointestinal, thermoregulatory and sexual activities. Despite varied symptoms based upon the level and severity of the injury, the loss of descending regulation and subsequent neuronal denervation in spinal autonomic nuclei underlie autonomic dysfunction after SCI. Over recent decades, autonomic disorders after SCI have drawn more investigations as researchers and clinicians began to pronounce their clinical priorities. Dr. Hou’s research emphasizes both cardiovascular and lower urinary tract dysfunctions on the consequences of SCI. By means of neuroanatomical, physiological, cellular and molecular approaches, his research aims to elucidate the machinery of neuronal control in cardiovascular dynamics and micturition reflex in intact and SCI animal models. Utilizing gene delivery and cell transplantation strategies, Dr. Hou attempts to rebuild neuronal pathways for the autonomic functional recoveries in spinal cord-injured rats. Future studies will employ genetic analysis to determine cellular and molecular changes in sympathetic and parasympathetic preganglionic neurons following SCI. Optogenetic techniques will be exploited to identify the precise role of specific spinal neural circuits in regulating autonomic activities under normal conditions or after SCI.

Ongoing research:

  • Neural stem cell transplantation to restore cardiovascular function after severe SCI
  • Characterizing injury-induced intraspinal plasticity correlated with spinal bladder reflex
  • Axon regeneration and target reinnervation for autonomic functional recovery following SCI

Three images showing TH+ innervation of IML, GFP expression in N. Gracilis and No DAT in A11 nucleus TH+ neurons


“Dopamine is produced in the rat spinal cord and regulates micturition reflex after spinal cord injury”
Hou S, Carson DM, Wu D, Klaw MC, Houlé JD, Tom V.   
Experimental Neurology. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2015.12.001 [Epub ahead of print] (2015)

“Autonomic consequences of spinal cord injury”
Hou S and Rabchevsky AG
Comprehensive Physiology 4: 1419-1453 (Overview, 2014)

“Partial restoration of cardiovascular dysfunction by embryonic neural stem cell grafts after complete spinal cord transection”
Hou S, Tom V, Graham L, Lu P, and Blesch A
The Journal of Neuroscience 33: 17138-17149 (2013)

“Characterization of supraspinal vasomotor pathways and autonomic dysreflexia after spinal cord injury in Fischer 344 rats”
Hou S, Lu P, and Blesch A
Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic & Clinic 176: 54-63 (2013)

“Dependence of regenerated sensory axons on continuous neurotrophin-3 delivery.”
Hou S, Nicholson L, Niekerk E, Motsch M, and Blesch A
The Journal of Neuroscience 32:13206-13220 (2012)

“Plasticity of lumbosacral propriospinal neurons is associated with the development of autonomic dysreflexia after thoracic spinal cord transection”
Hou S, Duale H, Cameron AA, Abshare SM, Lyttle TS, and Rabchevsky AG
Journal of Comparative Neurology 509: 382-399 (2008)

Contact Information

Research Office

Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy
2900 W. Queen Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19129
Phone: 215.991.8315
Fax: 215.843.9082