Background

Li Lei

PhD, Supervisor, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences


Email: saralilei@siat.ac.cn

Correspondence Address: Shenzhen Academy of Sciences, 1068 Xueyuan Avenue, Xili University Town, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, Guangdong

Zip Code: 518000

Department/Lab: The Brain Cognition and Brain Disease Institute


Research



Background



The Body and the nervous system together form one integrated system. Reproductive functions are under sophisticated central and peripheral regulation. The related malfunction leads to reproductive diseases which impose a heavy burden on society. Considering the fruitful clinical drugs are the results of basic mechanism research of the reproductive regulation, especially the research about the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonads axis, study of the brain-gonads axis at the neural circuity level shed light on future discovery and potential clinical benefits.

Neural circuit research enlightens great progress in our understanding of brain function. For the central control of reproductive function, the underlying neural mechanism is promising not only in the aspect of to decipher the circuitry level pathways but also in the potential central targets for reproductive diseases treatment strategy, especially in stress-associated reproductive diseases. LI and her colleagues have reported that the high-fat diet-induced obesity caused anxiety-like behavior and disturbed gut microbiota. Metformin could alleviate the anxiety-like behavior and the bodyweight gain by the activation of its AMPK pathway in the anxiety-related brain nuclei. Also, her work with Dr. LP Wang proves that brainstem nucleus Locus Coerulous is an important hub for stress-related response of the brain, published in Current Biology, 2018. 


Achievements

Combining reproductive physiology and neurobiology, Li is interested in the interdisciplinary research on the neural circuit mechanism and molecular targets of stress (including internal negative emotions and external stressors like pollutions) associated with reproductive diseases.

For the last 12 years, Li has published more than 15 SCI articles. Several molecular targets and pathways were dissected for reproductive diseases. The impacts of stress and negative emotions on the physiological functions were emphasized. The article published in 2018 reported accelerated defensive responses of the animals after stress. The identified brain nucleus Locus Coeruleus turns out to be an interesting hub involved. This article was recognized by the field of stress physiology and has been cited by journals like Neuron, Molecular Psychiatry, et al.

Li holds three National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) grants for the mentioned interdisciplinary research. Li is also the principle investigator of International Scientific and Technological Cooperation fund of Guandong province, supporting colloaboration with Kyushu University, Japan and the City University of Hong Kong, China. For her expertise in endocrinology and neuroscience, Li is selected as the editoral board member of journal “Neuroscience Bulletin”-Youth Editor. She is also invited as the reviewer for journals as Biology of Reproduction, American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, Translational Psychiatry.

Future Aims
(1) The impact of stress on the progress of PCOS and its neural circuit mechanism: Accumulating evidence shows the correlation of stress/negative emotions with PCOS. It is intriguing to study the relationship and its underlying neural mechanism. (2) The impact of environmental pollutant stress on reproductive functions and brain functions. Studying the interaction of stress and reproductive malfunction is important for the development of new therapy or targets. Our research about the effect of microplastics on reproductive and brain diseases will benefit the community about this novel type of pollution and work as an advisory research basis for public policy development.

Education

2006 - 2010 Ph.D., The University of Hong Kong

2004 - 2006 Mphil., Hong Kong Baptist University 

2001 - 2004 Bachelor, Hong Kong Baptist University

Experience

   
Work Experience

2012.10 - Now   Associate Professor, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SIAT, CAS)

2017.08 - 2018.01   Visiting Scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

2011.09 - 2012.10     Assistant Professor, SIAT, CAS

Teaching Experience

(1) 2007-2009 Tutor of the Physiology Lab for LKS Medicine School, the University of Hong Kong

(2) 2019  Teacher for the PhD Course “Modern neuroscience research methods and technologies”

Publications

   
Papers

1 Li L # * A Lower-brainstem Structure Coordinates Acquisition of Negative Experience. Neuroscience Bulletin, 2020. (accepted)

2 Huan Y#* Li L,# Dong K, Tang HS, Yang QN, Jia XL, Liao YD, Wang WB, Ren Z, Chen L, Wang LP*: Topological Shape Changes Weaken the Innate Defensive Response to Visual Threat in Mice. Neuroscience Bulletin, 2019. (# co-first author)

3 Ji SQ#, Wang LW#, Li L*. Effect of Metformin on Short-Term High-Fat Diet-Induced Weight Gain and Anxiety-Like Behavior and the Gut Microbiota. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 2019, 10:704  (* corresponding author)

4 Li L. #, Feng XL #, Zhou Z#, Zhang HQ, Shi QQ, Lei ZG, Shen PL, Yang QN, Zhao BH, Chen SR, Li L, Zhang YL, Wen PJ, Lu ZH, Li X, Xu FQ and Wang LP. Stress Accelerates Defensive Responses to Looming in Mice and Involves a Locus Coeruleus-Superior Colliculus Projection. Current Biology, 2018, 28:859. (# co-first author)

5 Zhou Z#, Liu XM#, Chen SP, Zhang ZJ, Liu YM, Montardy Q, Tang YQ, Wei PF, Liu N, Li L, Song R, Lai J, He XB, Chen C, Bi GQ, Feng GP, Xu FQ* and Wang LP*. A VTA GABAergic Neural Circuit Mediates Visually Evoked Innate Defensive Responses. Neuron, 2019, 103:1-16.027.

6 Li L. * and Wong LP*. Modulation of Innate Defensive Responses by Locus Coeruleus-Superior Colliculus Circuit. Journal of Experimental Neuroscience, 2018, 12:1-3. (* co-corresponding author)

7 Zhou CR#, Zhou Z#, Han YS, Lei ZG, Li L, Montardy Q, Liu XM, Xu FQ, Wang LP. Activation of parvalbumin interneurons in anterior cingulate cortex impairs observational fear. Science Bulletin, 2018, 63:771-778. 

8 Li L #, Ma P #, Huang C, Liu YJ, Zhang Y, Gao C, Xiao TX, Ren PG, Zabel BA, Zhang JV. Expression of chemerin and its receptors in rat testes and its action on testosterone secretion. Journal of Endocrinology, 2014, 220:155-163. (# co-first author)

9 Li L, Wong CKC. Effects of dexamethasone and dibutyryl cAMP on stanniocalcin-1 mRNA expression in rat primary Sertoli and Leydig cells. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 2008, 283:96-103.

10 Li YY, Li L, Hwang ISS, Tang F, Wai-Sum O. Coexpression of adrenomedullin and its receptors in the reproductive system of the rat: Effects on steroid secretion in rat ovary. Biology of Reproduction2008, 79:200-208.

11 Zhang JV, Li L, Huang QS, Ren PG. Obestatin Receptor in Energy Homeostasis and Obesity Pathogenesis. G Protein-Coupled Receptors in Energy Homeostasis and Obesity. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science, 2013, 114:89-107.

12 Li L, Wai-Sum O, Tang F. Adrenomedullin in rat follicles and corpora lutea: expression, functions and interaction with endothelin-1. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 2011, 12.

13 Li L #, Ma P#, Liu YJ, Huang C, O WS, Tang F, Zhang JV. Intermedin Attenuates LPS-induced Inflammation in the Rat Testis. Plos One, 2013, 8. (# co-first author) )

14 Li L #, Huang C#, Zhang X, Wang JB, Ma P, Liu YJ, Xiao TX, Zabel BA, Zhang JV. Chemerin-Derived Peptide C-20 Suppressed Gonadal Steroidogenesis. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 2014, 71:265-277. (# co-first author)

15 Li L, Tang F, Wai-Sum O. Preimplantation antagonism of adrenomedullin action compromises fetoplacental development and reduces litter size. Theriogenology2012, 77:1846-1853.

16 Li L, Tang F, Wai-Sum O. Coexpression of adrenomedullin and its receptor component proteins in the reproductive system of the rat during gestation. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 2010, 8 



Patents

(1) An intestinal flora collection device for non-human primates under anesthesia, Utility Model, 2016, 1st author, Patent No .: 201620248623.5

(2) A method and system for detecting large cell pathway function, Invention, 2018, 4th author, Patent No .: 2016112472375

(3) A method for collecting intestinal flora of non-human primates in a free state, invention, 2016, first author, patent number: 2016101870627

(4) A device and system for mood regulation, Invention, 2016, 3rd author, Patent No .: 2016112050161

(5) Chemokine-Derived Peptides and Their Expressed Genes and Applications, Invention, 2016, 4th Author, Patent No .: 2012102356242

(6) Animal restraint-type acute anxiety model, Invention, 2017, 1st author, Patent number: 2017106514727

(7) A biological tissue fixed embedding device for three-dimensional imaging, invention, 2019, the first author, patent number: CN201911222718.4

(8) A behavioral device for detecting rodent mating intent, Invention, 2019, 1st author, Patent number: CN 201911277964.X

(9) A biological tissue light stimulation device, invention, 2018, 5th author, patent number: CN109199628A

(10) A behavior detection device for overall perception and a test method for animal cognitive behavior, Invention, 2019, the first author, patent number: CN201911277533.3

(11) A behavior detection device, invention, 2019, the first author, patent number: CN201911308082.5


Extramural funding (Collaboration)

1. National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)-General, The neural circuit mechanism of brainstem nucleus-LC regulating ovarian function, 2020 -2023, 580K RMB, PI.

2. National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)-General, Research on the relationship between GPR1-mediated signaling pathways and gonadotropin abnormalities caused by obesity, 2015 -2018, 860K RMB, PI.

3. National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)-Youth, Study on the Expression and Mechanism of Adipokine Chemerin and Its Receptor in Leydig Cells, 2013-2015, 240K RMB, PI.

4. Guangdong Provincial - International Scientific and Technological Cooperation, Impact of Microplastics and its Enriched POPs on the Reproductive Capacity of Parents and Offspring, 2020-2021, 1,000K RMB, PI.

5. Fundamental Research of Shenzhen Science and Technology, Research on Male Infertility Mechanism Based on Abnormal Spermatocyte Division, 2019-2022, 2,000K RMB, co-PI.

Students

Name-----------------------Start/end of PhD/MD project (month/year - month/year)

Wei Mengxia----------------09/2017-now

Hayatte-Dounia-------------01/2018-07/2018 (co-supervised with Dr. Sylvie Rabot from NIRA France)

Guan Minjie-----------------01/2016-12/2017 (co-supervised with Dr. Chen Qiu from Shenzhen People’s Hospital)

Weng Xuanwen-------------01/2016-12/2017 (co-supervised with Dr. Chen Qiu from Shenzhen People’s Hospital)


Teaching Topics

1. The Brain and Behavior 2. Nerve Cells, Neural Circuitry, and Behavior 3. Genes and Behavior 4. The Cells of the Nervous System 5. The Sensory, Motor, and Reflex Functions of the Brain Stem 6. The Modulatory Functions of the Brain Stem 7. The Autonomic Motor System and the Hypothalamus 8. Emotions and Feelings 9. Homeostasis, Motivation, and Addictive States

Honors and awards

(1)Youth Editor of Neuroscience Bulletin; (2)Member of the Cognitive Disability Branch of the Chinese Medical Advocacy Association; (3)Review board member of National Natural Science Foundation of China (letter review), Review board member of Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Project (letter review), Review board member of Shenzhen Science and Technology Commission; (4)Reviewers of SCI journals: Biology of Reproduction, American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, Translational Psychiatry; (5)Member of the Chinese Associateion for Physiological Sciences; (6)Peacock talents of Shenzhen.

Scientific leadership

(1)Editorial board: Youth Editor of Neuroscience Bulletin; (2)Member of the Cognitive Disability Branch of the Chinese Medical Advocacy Association; (3)Review board member of National Natural Science Foundation of China (letter review), Review board member of Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Project (letter review), Review board member of Shenzhen Science and Technology Commission; (4)Reviewers of SCI journals: Biology of Reproduction, American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, Translational Psychiatry.