John Q. Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Westport Anesthesia / Missouri Endowed Chair for Research
Department(s) of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Sciences
UMKC School of Medicine
Education and Background

M.D. - Tongi Medical University, China
M.S. - Tongi Medical University, China
Ph.D. - Shanghai Medical University, China
Fellowship - Beijing Medical University, China
Fellowship - Medical College of Wisconsin

Meet John Wang
What do you like about living in Kansas City?

I grew up in Wuhan, a city located in the center of China, much like where Kansas City is in the United States. I often wonder whether I can dig a hole through the earth from my backyard here and emerge in Wuhan. Both places enjoy each of the four seasons, which gives me the feeling of the home and reminds me how similar these two cities are.

How did you get started doing research?

I am interested in the brain and how it works. I feel that the brain is a fantastic world, and I wonder how the abnormal activity of the brain leads to mental illnesses. I am especially interested in the rewarding system of the brain. Drug addiction, which is the focus on my research, is related to that rewards system.

What research challenges and opportunities do you see in the future?

While it is a challenge to translate experimental results of basic science to clinical treatments, I personally feel we have a good chance to do so at UMKC. We are working to take advantage of our recent progress in lab research to develop new treatments for some psychiatric disorders, and know our success will require basic and clinical scientists working together.


John Q. Wang is a Westport Anesthesia/Missouri Endowed Chair in the Department of Anesthesiology and a Professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Basic Medical Science at UMKC School of Medicine since 2004. He earned his medical degree in Tongji Medical University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in Shanghai Medical University in 1988. Dr. Wang’s research primarily focuses on drug abuse and addiction. He currently leads a research team supported by NIH grants to conduct animal experiments from molecule to behavior and from in vitro to in vivo. In addition, Dr. Wang is interested in elucidating molecular mechanisms for anesthesia induction.

Specialties and Research/Medical Interests

Biochemistry, Cardiology, Anesthesiology, Pediatric Prenatal, Neurology

Research Focus

Drug abuse and addiction

Supported by National Institutes of Health grants, Wang leads a research team that studies, analyzes and clarifies the brain mechanisms underlying drug addiction.

Selected Publications

Yang JH, Mao LM, Choe ES, Wang JQ (2017) Synaptic ERK2 phosphorylates and regulates metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 in vitro and in neurons. Mol Neurobiol in press. PMC5410195.

Xue B, Chen EC, He N, Jin DZ, Mao LM, Wang JQ (2017) Integrated regulation of AMPA glutamate receptor phosphorylation in the striatum by dopamine and acetylcholine. Neuropharmacology 112:57-65. PMC5055431.

Mao LM, Wang JQ (2017) Antagonism of dopamine D2 receptors alters phosphorylation of Fyn in the rat medial prefrontal cortex. J Mol Neurosci 61:524-530. PMC5360503.

Mao LM, Wang HH, Wang JQ (2017) Antagonism of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors alters synaptic ERK phosphorylation in the rat forebrain. Neurochem Res42:1202-1210. PMC5405859.

Mao LM, Geosling R, Penman B, Wang JQ (2017) Local substrates of non-receptor tyrosine kinases at synaptic sites in neurons. Acta Physiologica Sinica in press.


Faris HJ, He N, Wang JQ. Regulation of Src family kinases in the rat striatum by muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. Great Plains Honors Council Conference, Beaumont, TX, March 31-April 2, 2017.

Faris HJ, Mao LM, Wang JQ. Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors inhibit Src family kinase phosphorylation in the rat striatum. Health Sciences Student Research Summit. University of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, April 26, 2017.


NIH R01, DA10355, PI: Qiang Wang, Metabotropic glutamate regulation of amphetamine action, $1,698,750.00, 2013-2018.

NIH R01, MH61469, PI: Qiang Wang, Molecular regulation of metabotropic glutamate receptors in striatal neurons, $1,887,500.00, 2015-2020.