Yun Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Science and Technology of China, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
During her postdoctoral training (2004-2007) in Dr. William Guggino’s lab at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHUSOM), she studied the function of polycystins in intracellular calcium signaling. She then worked as a Research Associate in Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein’ lab at the JHUSOM to study pathogenic mechanisms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using mouse models. In 2010, she joined Dr. Da-Ting Lin’s lab at the Jackson Laboratory as a Research Scientist and moved to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) along with the group in 2013. At NIDA, they developed a custom-built miniscope system for deep brain in vivo calcium imaging in freely behaving mice. In 2018 she was recruited as faculty at the University of Wyoming.
Dr. Li’s research program focuses on studying the prefrontal cortical microcircuits. Prefrontal microcircuits play essential roles in planning, reasoning, decision-making, and problem-solving. Disruptions in prefrontal microcircuits are associated with behavioral abnormalities in a variety of brain disorders. The team applies multidisciplinary approaches, including the miniscope in vivo calcium imaging technique, to study aberrant neural activity and dysfunctional prefrontal microcircuits in mouse models of dementia, depression, and autism, and to help developing strategies for early detection and intervention for these brain disorders.