University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

colonafferents pic_mems mechanic_br



     Not to confuse with the public radio station, research at NPR is focused upon the sensory encoding and processing of the peripheral nervous system. Particular interests are given on 1) how the sensory afferent neurons detect and transmit pain-related sensory information, 2) the peripheral mechanisms that underlie the sensory aberrations in chronic pain and 3) translating scientific discoveries into next-generation neuromodulatory strategies and devices that target peripheral nerves/neurons for the better management of chronic pain.

     We are focused on but not limited to the study of visceral pain, i.e., pain arising from the internal organs.

sensory innervation of the viscera

     We employ a multi-disciplinary approach that includes 1) experimental studies on the sensory nerve endings by in vitro electrophysiology and biomechanics of visceral tissue, 2) state-of-the-art molecular biology and generic knock-out/knock-in mouse models, and 3) computational simulations and rigorous mathematical analysis that integrates the experimental findings to deepen the theoretical understanding of visceral afferent encoding and sensitization. As biomedical engineers, we are also enthusiastic in engineering the next generation tools for neuroscience studies in general and visceral pain management in particular.

NPR News

Jan 2017: Longtu's Manuscript " Pharmacological approach for managing pain in irritable bowel syndrome; a review article" is now accepted for publication in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine.

Oct 2016: Dr. Feng and Dr. Santaniello from UConn BME hosted the 20th Annual Neuroscience at Storrs mini symposium.

Oct 2016: NPR student Longtu and Dr. Feng attended the BMES 2016 (Minneapolis, MN) and gave a poster presentation entitled “In Vitro Multichannel Single-unit Recordings of Action Potentials from Mouse Sciatic Nerve.”

Sept 2016: Dr. Lucas at the School of Nursing together with Dr. Feng are recipients of the CT Bio Pipline grant ($30,000) for their project titled "A low cost portable device for breastfeeding diagnostic". 

Aug 2016: Dr. Feng received a study grant ($93,791) from Allergan Inc. to investigate the role of Eluxadoline in treating IBS-related visceral pain. 

May 2016: Dr. Feng attended the 11th NIH Annual Pain Consortium Symposium (Washington, DC) and gave a poster presentation entitled “Optogenetic activation of mechanically-insensitive afferents in mouse colorectum reveals chemosensitivity.”

Mar 2016: Manuscript "Chronic prostatitis induces urinary bladder hypersensitivity and sensitizes bladder afferents in the mouse" is now accepted for publication in Journal of Urology. Dr. Feng is a contributing author.

Feb 2016: Manuscript "Optogenetic activation of mechanically-insensitive afferents in mouse colorectum reveals chemosensitivity" is now accepted for publication in American Journal of Physiology. Dr. Feng is the 1st and corresponding author.

Dec 2015: Manuscript “A novel role for follistatin in hypersensitivity following cystitis.” is now accepted for publication in Neurourol Urodyn. Dr. Feng is the 2nd author.

Oct 2015: Dr. Feng attended the BMES 2015 (Tampa, Florida) and gave an oral presentation entitled “Computational Modeling of Neural Excitability at Colorectal Afferent Endings and Somata.”

Oct 2015: Manuscript “Roles of isolectin B4-binding afferents in colorectal mechanical nociception.” is now accepted for publication in Pain. Dr. Feng is the 2nd author.

May 2015: Manuscript “Experimental and computational evidence for an essential role of NaV1.6 in spike initiation at stretch-sensitive colorectal afferent endings.” is accepted for publication in the Journal of Neurophysiology. Dr. Feng is the 1st and sole corresponding author.