University of Nebraska Medical Center

Laboratory of Guoku Hu, PhD

Laboratory Goals

To explore the effects of noncoding RNAs, including lncRNA and miRNA, and their dysregulation during neuropathogenesis associated with drugs, such as morphine and cocaine. I also am interested in establishing extracellular vesicle (EV)-based methodology of RNA drug delivery for the treatment of central nervous system complications associated with drug abuse. My ultimate goal is to elucidate the functional aspects of EVs and ncRNAs in drug addiction and also to identify novel therapeutic strategies that could enhance neuronal function and survival in patients afflicted with these disorders.

Techniques used in the laboratory

  • Molecular biology
  • Neurobiology
  • Rodent models
  • Bioinformatics


Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences
Senior Associate Dean of Research and Development, College of Medicine
Director, Center for Integrative and Translational Neuroscience

Margaret R. Larson Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience


Laboratory of Howard E. Gendelman, MD

Howard E. Gendelman, MD

Professor & Vice Chair for Administration, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Steve Caplan, PhD

Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy


Gurumurthy Channabasavaiah, PhD

Associate Professor, Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine


Associate Professor and Interim Bioimaging Core Lab Director, Radiology Research Division



Intranasal delivery of exosomes loaded with miRs -223 & -124 as a therapeutic strategy for HAND in cocaine users

Multiple PI: Hu/Chivero/Gurumurthy

Source: NIH R21DA046831

The goal of this proposal is to design and develop miRNA-depleted-extracellular vesicles (EV) loaded with specific miRNAs for in vivo delivery as a means to ameliorate HIV protein (Tat) & cocaine-induced microglial activation in the brain.

Role: MPI

Exosome-mediated anti-miRNA delivery into the CNS: A novel therapeutic for HAND on opiate Users

Multiple PI: Hu/Guo

Source: NIH R21DA042704

The goal of this proposal is to design and develop an extracellular vesicle (EV)-based strategy of in vivo anti-microRNA (miR) delivery as a means to ameliorate morphine & HIV protein (Tat)-induced microglial activation & migration in the brain.

Role: MPI

HIV-1 Mediated synaptodendritic injury and microglial activation: Role of extracellular vesicle miRNAs

Multiple PI: Buch/Hu

Source: NIH R01MH112848

The overarching goal of this application is to explore the mechanisms by which HIV Tat mediates synaptodendritic injury & microglial activation via intercellular cross talk involving extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their fingerprint cargo of miRNAs.

Role: MPI

HIV Tat & Cocaine-mediated alterations in microglial migration & activation involve epigenetic regulation of miRNAs

Multiple PI: Buch/Hu/Guo

Source: NIH R01DA043138

The goal of the proposed research is to investigate the role of HIV Tat and cocaine in mediating alterations in microglial migration & activation via epigenetic regulation of miRNAs.

Role: Co-PI