Faculty Profile, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan

Faculty Profiles

Ing-Kang Ho, Ph.D.

Distinguished Investigator and Vice President
Institute of Population Health Sciences


Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco, 1968
B.S., Chemistry, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, 1962


- Distinguished Investigator, Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Research, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan (2007-present)
- Vice President, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan (2006-present)
- Distinguished Investigator, Division of Environmental Health and Occupational Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan (2006-2007)
- Dean, School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, University of Mississippi Medical Center, USA (2001-2006)
- Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies, University of Mississippi Medical Center, USA (1997-2001)
- Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor/formerly Frederick A. P. Barnard Distinguished Professor, University of Mississippi Medical Center, USA (1996-2004)
- Professor and Chairman, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, USA (1982-2006)
- Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, USA (1978-1982)
- Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, USA (1975-1978)
- Assistant Professor in Residence, Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco, USA (1974-1975)


One of Ho's research interests is focused on the mechanism of dependence on opioid analgesic agents, especially the kappa-opioid receptor agonist, butorphanol. With the development of a rat model for producing tolerance to and dependence on butorphanol, a substantial degree of physical dependence on kappa-opioid agonist has also been demonstrated. The study conducted demonstrated that kappa-opioid receptors, located on presynaptic nerve terminals of the pontine locus coeruleus (LC), function as heteroinhibitory receptors, reducing quantal release of the EAA neurotransmitter, glutamate. Chronic administration of a kappa-opioid receptor agonist, such as butorphanol, sets the stage for antagonist-precipitated withdrawal by inducing supersensitivity to kappa-opioid receptor antagonist binding, and as a result of compensatory increases in the number, or supersensitivity, of excitatory postsynaptic glutamate receptors. Antagonist-precipitated withdrawal elicits exaggerated presynaptic release of glutamate, which stimulates the postsynaptic glutamate receptors. The subsequent hyperactivity of LC neurons mediates the behavioral symptoms of withdrawal.


Dr. Ho is on the editorial board for several nationally and internationally recognized journals and is a regular reviewer for many others. He was one of the associate editors of Annual Review of pharmacology and had served on several study sections of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He had also served as a member of scientific advisory committee of Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention of the Centers for Disease Control of the Department of Health and Human Services. He has also hosted and organized several national and international symposia and conferences. Dr. Ho has authored over 360 research articles, review papers and book chapters. He has also received numerous prestigious awards from national and international scientific societies.


1. Lan, K.C., Ma, T., Lin-Shiau, S.Y., Liu, S.H. and Ho, I.K. Methamphetamine-elicited alterations of dopamine- and serotonin-metabolite levels within m-opioid receptor knockout mice: a microdialysis study. J. Biomed. Sci. on-line 2007

2. Tien, L.T., Ho, I.K., Loh, H.H., Ma, T. Role of m-opioid receptor in modulation of preproenkephalin mRNA expression and ppioid and dopamine receptor binding in methamphetamine-sensitized mice. J. Neurosci. Res. 85:673-680, 2007

3. Tien, L.T., Ma, T., Fan, L.W., Loh, H.H., Ho, I.K. Autoradiographic analysis of GABAA receptors in m-opioid receptor knockout mice. Neurochem. Res. 32:1891-1897, 2007

4. Sun, T.-T., Paul, I.A. and Ho, I.K. Motor functions but not learning and memory are impaired upon repeated exposure to sub-lethal doses of methyl parathion. J. Biomed. Sci. 13:515-523, 2006.

5. Kim, S.-Y., Chudapongse, N., Lee, S.M., Levin, M.C., Oh, J.T., Park H.J. and Ho, I.K. Proteomic analysis of phosphotyrosyl proteins in morphine-dependent rat brains. Molec. Brain Res. 133:58-70, 2005.

6. Oh, S., Chang, C.-Y., Baker, R.C. and Ho, I.K. Phorbol ester differentiates the levels of [H3]MK-801 binding in rat lines selected for differential sensitivity to the hypnotic effects of ethanol. Neurochem. Res. 30:161-169, 2005.

7. Tanaka, S., Fan, L.-W., Tien, L.-T., Park, Y., Liu-Chen, L.-Y., Rockhold, R.W. and Ho, I.K. Butorphanol dependence increases hippocampal ?-opioid receptor gene expression. J. Neurosci. Res. 82:255-263, 2005.