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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)

Shaoping Hou, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at Drexel University College of Medicine.

He participates in the education of PhD, MD and MS students at Drexel:

  • Medical Neuroscience: autonomic function, motor system
  • Methods in Biomedical Research: anatomical studies
  • Human Structure and Function I: neuroanatomical labs

Research Overview

Research Interests

Autonomic dysfunction after spinal cord injury, micturition reflex and cardiovascular function, neural stem cells, axon regeneration, serotonin and dopamine


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 sensorimotor deficits but also in autonomic dysfunction. The disruption of supraspinal autonomic pathways renders abnormalities in multiple organ systems including compromised urinary, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, thermoregulatory and sexual activities. Despite varied symptoms based upon the level and severity of the injury, the loss of descending regulation and subsequent maladaptation in the injured spinal cord underlie disordered autonomic activity. Over recent decades, autonomic dysfunction has drawn more investigation as researchers and clinicians begin to state their clinical priorities. Our research emphasizes both lower urinary tract and cardiovascular consequences after SCI.

The Hou Laboratory employs multidisciplinary approaches, including neuroanatomical, physiological, and cellular and molecular techniques to elucidate supraspinal and intraspinal neuronal machinery of micturition and hemodynamics in intact and SCI rat models. Recent findings revealed that spinal endogenous dopaminergic mechanisms regulate the recovered spontaneous bladder reflexes after SCI. Utilizing the cell transplantation approach, our team is further attempting to rebuild neuronal pathways for autonomic functional recovery. In the central nervous system, injured axonal projections are particularly refractory to growth due to various factors. We are exploring effective strategies to increase growth capability and reduce inhibitory aspects for axon regeneration following SCI.

Ongoing research:

  • Intraspinal neuronal mechanisms regulating spontaneous micturition reflex after SCI
  • Transplantation of neural stem cells to restore cardiovascular function following SCI
  • SCI animal models and therapeutic approaches for cardiac dysfunction
  • Combinatorial strategies for axon regeneration and target reinnervation

The Hou Laboratory uses a wide variety of techniques:

  • Surgical: spinal cord injury, cell transplantation, viral vector injection, telemeter implantation
  • Neuroanatomical: histology, immunostaining, neural tract tracing, microscopy, confocal imaging
  • Cellular and molecular: neural stem cell culture, cell reprogramming, q-PCR, western blot
  • Physiological and behavioral: bladder cystometry and external urethral sphincter (EUS) electromyography (EMG), metabolic cages, hemodynamic recordings, cardiac functional analysis, sensorimotor evaluation, DREADDs techniques

Current lab members:

  • Cameron T. Trueblood, PhD candidate
  • Jaclyn H. DeFinis, PhD candidate
  • Silvia Fernandes, PhD candidate
  • Jeremy Weinberger, MS, research assistant
  • Yuan Qiao, PhD candidate (visiting student)
  • Idiata W. Iredia, MS, summer student
  • Alfredo Munoz, MD candidate (part time)

Collaborators and colleagues:

  • Veronica J. Tom, PhD, Drexel University College of Medicine
  • Rodrigo A. España, PhD, Drexel University College of Medicine
  • Peter Baas, PhD, Drexel University College of Medicine
  • Paul Lu, PhD, University of California, San Diego
  • Su-Chun Zhang, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • William C. de Groat, PhD, University of Pittsburgh


“Spinal dopaminergic mechanisms regulating the micturition reflex in male rats with complete spinal cord injury.”
Qiao Y, Brodnik ZD, Zhao S, Trueblood CT, Li Z, Tom VJ, España RA, Hou S.
Journal of Neurotrauma 38(6):803-817 (2021). PMID: 33297828

“Alterations of dopamine-related transcripts in A11 diencephalospinal pathways after spinal cord injury.”
Zhao S, DeFinis JH, Hou S.
Neural Plasticity (2021). doi: 10.1155/2021/8838932. PMID: 33510781

“Delivery of the 5-HT2A receptor agonist, DOI, enhances activity of the sphincter muscle during the micturition reflex in rats after spinal cord injury.”
DeFinis JH, Weinberger J, Hou S.
Biology (Basel) (2021). doi: 10.3390/biology10010068. PMID: 33477834

“Transgene expression within the spinal cord of hTH-eGFP rats”
Zhao S, Hou S.
Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy (2020). doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2020.101853. PMID: 32771532

“Grafting embryonic raphe neurons reestablishes serotonergic regulation of sympathetic activity to improve cardiovascular function after spinal cord injury.”
Hou S, Saltos TM, Mironets E, Trueblood CT, Connors TM, Tom VJ.
The Journal of Neuroscience 40(6):1248-1264 (2020). PMID: 31896670

“Development of cardiovascular dysfunction in a rat spinal cord crush model and responses to serotonergic interventions.”
Trueblood CT, Iredia IW, Collyer ES, Tom VJ, Hou S.
Journal of Neurotrauma 36(9):1478-1486 (2019). PMID: 30362884

"Transsynaptic tracing to dissect supraspinal serotonergic input regulating the bladder reflex in rats"
Ahn J, Saltos TM, Tom VJ, Hou S
Neurourology and Urodynamics 1-8 (2018). PMID: 29999191

"Surgical techniques influence local environment of injured spinal cord and cause various grafted cell survival and integration"
Hou S, Saltos TM, Iredia IW, Tom VJ
Journal of Neuroscience Methods 293:144-150 (2018). PMID: 28947264

"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 285: 136-146 (2016). PMID: 26655672

"Autonomic consequences of spinal cord injury"
Hou S and Rabchevsky AG
Comprehensive Physiology 4: 1419-1453 (Overview, 2014). PMID: 25428850

"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). PMID: 24155317

"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). PMID: 23466042

"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). PMID: 22993437

"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). PMID: 18512692

Contact Information

Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy
2900 W. Queen Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19129
Phone: 215.991.8411
Fax: 215.843.9082