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Shaoping Hou

Shaoping Hou, PhD

Associate 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 associate 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:

  • Emily Oatman, Research Assistant II
  • Emily Taub, Research Assistant I
  • Marissa Cusimano, PhD Candidate
  • Anurag Singh, PhD Student
  • Krupa Patel, Master’s Student
  • Xiaohe Liu, Visiting PhD Student


View complete list of published work from the NCBI.

“The susceptibility of cardiac arrhythmias after spinal cord crush injury in rats”
Fernandes S, Oatman E, Weinberger J, Dixon A, Osei-Owusu P, Hou S
Experimental Neurology Aug 8; 357:114200 (2022). Online ahead of print. PMID: 35952765

“Deciphering spinal endogenous dopaminergic mechanisms that modulate micturition reflexes in rats with spinal cord injury”
Hou S, DeFinis JH, Daugherty SL, Tang C, Weinberger J, de Groat WC
eNeuro 8(4): 0157-21 (2021). PMID: 34244339

“Dual-Pseudorabies Viral Tracing for Spinal Tyrosine Hydroxylase Interneurons Involved in Segmental Micturition Reflex Circuitry in Spinal Cord Injured Rats”
DeFinis JH, Hou S
Neurotrauma Report. 2(1):660-668 (2021). PMID: 35018366

“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

“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

“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 VJ
Experimental Neurology 285 (2016) 136-146

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

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

“Dependence of regenerated sensory axons on continuous neurotrophin-3 delivery”
Hou S, Nicholson L, Niekerk E, Motsch M, 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, Rabchevsky AG
Journal of Comparative Neurology 509: 382-399 (2008)

Contact Information

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