Li Lei

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


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

Zip Code: 518000



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. 


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. Li has published 24 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 four 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.


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

2004 - 2006 Mphil., Hong Kong Baptist University 

2001 - 2004 Bachelor, Hong Kong Baptist University


Work Experience

2022.01 - Now          Professor, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SIAT, CAS)

2012.10 - 2022.01    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) 2019-2021  Teacher for the Postgraduate Course “Modern neuroscience research methods and technologies”

(3) 2021-2022  Teacher for the Undergraduate Course “Introduction to Life Science”

(4) 2022  Teacher for the Ph.D. Course “The Integrative Physiology”



1. Zijie Li#, Ziyi Lin, Shuqin Ji, Keng-Po Lai, Hin-Ting Wan, Chris Kong Chu Wong*, Lei Li*. Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid Exposure Altered Hypothalamic Metabolism and Disturbed Male Fecundity. Science of The Total Environment, 2022, 844: 156881. (共同通讯作者JCR一区,影响因子:10.753)

2. Peilei Shen#, Shuqin Ji, Xulin Li, Qingning Yang, Bingxian Xu, Chris Kong Chu Wong*, Liping Wang*, Lei Li*. LPS-induced systemic inammation caused mPOA-FSH/LH disturbance and impaired testicular function.Frontiers in Endocrinology, 2022, 13. (共同通讯作者JCR一区,影响因子:6.055)

3. Quentin Montardy#, Zheng Zhou#, Lei Li#, Qingning Yang, Zhuogui Lei, Xiaolong Feng, Shanping Chen, Qianqian Shi, Huiqi Zhang, Shuran Chen, Zhijian Zhang, Binghao Zhao, Fuqiang Xu, Zhonghua Lu, Liping Wang*. Dopamine modulates visual threat processing in the superior colliculus via D2 receptors. iScience, 2022, 25(6): 104388. (共同第一作者,JCR一区,影响因子:6.107)

4. Kazumi Sunny Tsukazawa#, Lei Li, William Ka Fai Tse*. 2,4-dichlorophenol exposure induces lipid accumulation and reactive oxygen species formation in zebrafish embryos. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 2022, 230:113133. (JCR一区,影响因子:6.291)

5. Keng Po Lai#*, Chau Fong Tsang, Lei Li, Richard Man Kit Yu*, Richard Yuen Chong Kong*. Microplastics act as a carrier for wastewater-borne pathogenic bacteria in sewage. Chemosphere, 2022, 301: 134692. (JCR一区,影响因子:8.943)

6. Yuen-Wa Ho#, Jin Yan Lim, Yun Kit Yeoh, Jia-Chi Chiou, Yuyan Zhu, Keng Po Lai, Lei Li, Paul Kay Sheung Chan, James Kar-Hei Fang*. Preliminary Findings of the High Quantity of Microplastics in Faeces of Hong Kong Residents. Toxics, 10(8), 414. (JCR二区,影响因子:4.472)

7. Kuo Lu#, Keng Po Lai#, Tobias Stoeger, Shuqin Ji, Ziyi Lin, Xiao Lin, Ting Fung Chan, James Kar-Hei Fang, Michael Lo, Liang Gao, Chen Qiu, Shanze Chen, Guobing Chen, Lei Li*, Lingwei Wang*. Detrimental effects of microplastic exposure on normal and asthmatic pulmonary physiology. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2021, 416: 126069. (共同通讯作者JCR一区,影响因子:14.224)

8. Lingwei Wang, Danting Zhan, Xiaodi Liu, Kai Yang, Shipin Wu, Heng Zhang, Min Yu, Yimin Zha, Weibin Huang, Lei Li*, Rongchang Chen*, Chen Qiu*. Initial PCR Testing Negative, but Chest CT Suggesting for Viral Pneumonia Urges for Repeated Testing for COVID-19 Diagnosis. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences. 2021, 8: 640788. (共同通讯作者JCR一区,影响因子:6.113)

9. Hoi Shing Lo, Beverly Hoi Ki Po, Laam Li, Aman Yi Man Wong, Richard Yuen Chong Kong, Lei Li, William Ka Fai Tse, Chris Kong Chu Wong, Siu Gin Cheung*, Keng Po Lai*. Bisphenol A and its analogues in sedimentary microplastics of Hong Kong, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2021, 164: 112090. (JCR一区,影响因子7.001)

10. 魏梦霞#, 纪树钦#, 李子杰, 林子逸, Montardy Quentin, 王立平*, 李蕾*. 脑干蓝斑到前庭神经核的神经环路投射及在压力应激下的激活研究. 集成技术, 2021, 10(5): 12-22. (共同通讯作者)

11. Lei Li*. A Lower-brainstem Structure Coordinates Acquisition of Negative Experience. Neuroscience Bulletin, 2020, 36(8):955-957. (通讯作者JCR二区,影响因子:5.271)

12. Shuqin Ji#, Lingwei Wang#, Lei Li*. 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  (通讯作者JCR一区,影响因子:6.055)

13. Zheng Zhou#, Xuemei Liu#, Shanping Chen, Zhijian Zhang,Yuanming Liu, Quentin Montardy,Yongqiang Tang, Pengfei Wei, Nan Liu, Lei Li, Ru Song, Juan Lai, Xiaobin He, Chen Chen, Guoqiang Bi, Guoping Feng, Fuqiang Xu*, Liping Wang*. A VTA GABAergic Neural Circuit Mediates Visually Evoked Innate Defensive Responses. Neuron, 2019, 103:1-16.027. (JCR一区,影响因子:18.688)

14. Yan Huang#*, Lei Li#, Kun Dong, Hongsi Tang, Qingning Yang, Xianglian Jia, Yundan Liao, Wenbo Wang, Zhen Ren, Lin Chen, Liping Wang*. Topological Shape Changes Weaken the Innate Defensive Response to Visual Threat in Mice. Neuroscience Bulletin, 2019, 36(4): 427-431. (共同第一作者,JCR二区,影响因子:5.271)

15. Lei Li#, Xiaolong Feng#, Zheng Zhou#, Huiqi Zhang, Qianqian Shi, Zhuogui Lei, Peilei Shen, Qingning Yang, Binghao Zhao, Shuran Chen, Lin Li, Yulin Zhang, Pengjie Wen, Zhonghua Lu, Xiang Li, Fuqiang Xu, Liping Wang*. Stress Accelerates Defensive Responses to Looming in Mice and Involves a Locus Coeruleus-Superior Colliculus Projection. Current Biology, 2018, 28: 859. (共同第一作者JCR一区,影响因子:10.900)

16. Chunran Zhou#, Zheng Zhou#, Yushui Han, Zhuogui Lei, Lei Li, Quentin Montardy, Xuemei Liu, Fuqiang Xu, Liping Wang*. Activation of parvalbumin interneurons in anterior cingulate cortex impairs observational fear. Science Bulletin, 2018, 63: 771-778. (JCR一区,影响因子:20.577)

17. Lei Li*, Liping Wang*. Modulation of Innate Defensive Responses by Locus Coeruleus-Superior Colliculus Circuit. Journal of Experimental Neuroscience, 2018, 12: 1-3.共同通讯作者

18. Lei Li#, Ping Ma#, Chen Huang, Yongjun Liu, Ye Zhang, Chen Gao, Tianxia Xiao, Pei-Gen Ren, Brian A Zabel, Jian V Zhang*. Expression of chemerin and its receptors in rat testes and its action on testosterone secretion. Journal of Endocrinology, 2014, 220: 155-163. (共同第一作者JCR一区,影响因子:4.669)

19. Lei Li#, Chen Huang#, Xu Zhang, Jiangbo Wang, Ping Ma, Yongjun Liu, Tianxia Xiao, Brian A. Zabel, Jian V. Zhang*. Chemerin-Derived Peptide C-20 Suppressed Gonadal Steroidogenesis. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 2014, 71: 265-277. (共同第一作者JCR二区,影响因子:3.777)

20. Jian V. Zhang#*, Lei Li, Qingsheng Huang, Pei-Gen Ren. 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. (JCR三区,影响因子:4.025)

21.  Lei Li#, Fai Tang, Wai-Sum O*. Preimplantation antagonism of adrenomedullin action compromises fetoplacental development and reduces litter size. Theriogenology, 2012, 77: 1846-1853. (第一作者JCR一区,影响因子:2.923) 

22. Lei Li#, Wai-Sum O*, Fai Tang. Adrenomedullin in rat follicles and corpora lutea: expression, functions and interaction with endothelin-1. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 2011, 9(1): 1-12. (第一作者JCR一区,影响因子:4.982)

23. Lei Li#, Fai Tang, 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: 130. (第一作者JCR一区,影响因子:4.982)

24. Lei Li#, Chris K.C. Wong*. 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. (第一作者JCR二区,影响因子:4.369)

25. Yuk-Yin Li#, Lei Li, Isabel Shui-Shan Hwang, Fai Tang, 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 Reproduction, 2008, 79: 200-208. (JCR二区,影响因子:4.161)


(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.



魏梦霞  硕士研究生  071006-神经生物学  


钟嘉峰  硕士研究生  071000-生物学  

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.