Wei LiAssistant Professor

Research Areas
Synaptic transmission and plasticity, neurotrophins, neuron-glia interaction, motor and social behavior, neurodevelopmental disorders



The long-term goal of the Li lab is to understand molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neuronal and glial transmission and the intersection of these dynamics within neural networks. We work to reveal the significance of the exquisite integration of multiple brain circuits in cognitive and behavioral tasks in a homeostatic state and to investigate how alterations to these cellular populations lead to the pathophysiological progression of brain diseases. Specifically, our lab is interested in Rett syndrome (RTT), a rare autism spectrum disorder (ASD) primarily affecting females, which results in motor abnormalities and social deficits. As RTT is caused by mutations in the gene Methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2), we utilize many animal models lacking this gene to study RTT. Our lab uses an extensive combination of experimental techniques, including ex vivo and in vivo electrophysiology, imaging of Ca2+ signals and various biosensors, optogenetics and chemogenetics applied to ex vivo brain slices and to freely moving animals, and diverse behavioral assessments. All in all, we strive to address molecular to network-level dysfunction in ASD models and translate these findings into therapeutic interventions.


Graduate School
Ph.D., Basic Biomedical Sciences, University of South Dakota

Department of Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham