Chih-Cheng has been at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Academia Sinica since 2003 and was promoted to Associate Research Fellow in 2011. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at National Ying-Ming University and National Taiwan University. He was a Post-Doctorate Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health in the US between 1998 and 2003, before which he received a PhD from University College London in the UK.
His basic research interest is to understand the molecular mechanism and genetic control of pain sensation and neurosensory mechanotransduction. In past years, he has accomplished works relating to molecular cloning and functional characterization of sensory neuron-specific ion channels, including ATP-gated ion channels (P2X3), acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs), and stretch-activated ion channels. He is actively engaged in work ranging from molecular biology to electrophysiology to animal behaviors. His laboratory is currently pursuing several different lines of research:
A major interest is in pain mechanism, especially the pain associated with tissue acidosis. Muscle pain is our current focus. The long-range goal is to understand and control the intractable chronic musculoskeletal pain, such as fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndromes, complex regional pain syndromes, etc.
A second major interest of the lab is related to neurosensory mechanotransduction. While sensory neurons are known to respond to chemical, thermal, and electrical stimulation, the effect of mechanics on these highly sensitive cells is still not known. Mechanoreceptors of sensory neurons diversely localize in specialized nerve terminals, which make a challenging for distinguishing, approaching, and mechanical stimulation. To conquer this difficulty, his team have developed a novel method of analyzing mechanotransduction of neurite via localized elastomeric matrix control and electrophysiology. They aim to identify the stretch-activated ion channels that contribute to movement disorder and chronic pain in peripheral neuropathies.