Department of Animal Science

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Dr. Cun Li

Associate Research Professor | Texas Pregnancy & Life-course Health Research Center, Southwest National Primate Research Center

M.D., Harbin Medical University, P.R. China, 1980
Phone: 210-258-9271

Research Interests:
I have worked on issues of brain development in rats, sheep, nonhuman primates, and humans for over 30 years. Both in China as a clinician and in the USA as a basic investigator, I am committed to understanding mechanisms underlying impaired human fetal brain growth and function by using comparative animal models, especially sheep and nonhuman primate models. Currently, my interests are on the effects of both maternal under- and over-nutrition and exposure to levels of glucocorticoids higher than is appropriate for the current stage of fetal development on programming of brain development and metabolism.

Selected Publications:
  • Transcriptomal changes and functional annotation of the developing non-human primate choroid plexus.
    Ek CJ, Nathanielsz P, Li C, Mallard C. Front Neurosci. 9:82, 2015.
    PMID 25814924
  • Impaired development of fetal serotonergic neurons in intrauterine growth restricted baboons.
    Ye W, Xie L, Li C, Nathanielsz PW, Thompson BJ. J Med Primatol 2014;43(4):284-287.
    PMID 25431504
  • Expression of the placental transcriptome in maternal nutrient reduction in baboons is dependent on fetal sex.
    Cox LA, Li C, Glenn JP, Lange K, Spradling KD, Nathanielsz PW, Jansson T. J. Nutr. 2013;143(11):1698-1708, 2013.
    PMID 24047701
  • Sexually dimorphic effects of maternal nutrient reduction on expression of genes regulating cortisol metabolism in fetal baboon adipose and liver tissues.
    Guo C, Li C, Myatt L, Nathanielsz PW, Sun K. Diabetes 62(4):1175-1185, 2013.
    PMID 23238295
  • Intrauterine growth restriction alters term fetal baboon hypothalamic appetitive peptide balance.
    Li C, McDonald TJ, Wu G, Nijland MJ, Nathanielsz PW. J Endocrinol. 217(3):275-282, 2013.
    PMID 23482706
  • Up-regulation of the fetal baboon hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in intrauterine growth restriction: Coincidence with hypothalamic glucocorticoid receptor insensitivity and leptin receptor down-regulation.
    Li C, Ramahi E, Nijland MJ, Choi J, Myers DA, Nathanielsz PW, McDonald TJ. Endocrinology 154(7):2365-2373, 2013.
    PMID 23625543

  • Effects of maternal nutrient restriction, intrauterine growth restriction, and glucocorticoid exposure on phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase-1 expression in fetal baboon hepatocytes in vitro.
    Li C, Shu Z-J, Lee S, Gupta MB, Jansson T, Nathanielsz PW, Kamat A. J. Med. Primatol. 42(4):211-219, 2013.
    PMID 23600855
  • The frontal cortex IGF system is down regulated in the term, intrauterine growth restricted fetal baboon.
    Xie L, Antonow-Schlorke I, Schwab M, McDonald TJ, Nathanielsz PW, Li C. Growth Horm. IGF Res. 23(5):187-192, 2013.
    PMID 23911858
  • Vulnerability of the fetal primate brain to moderate reduction in maternal global nutrient availability.
    Antonow-Schlorke I, Schwab M, Cox LA, Li C, Stuchlik K, Witte OW, Nathanielsz PW, McDonald TJ. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108(7): 3011-3016, 2011.
    PMID 21252306.
  • Emergence of insulin resistance in juvenile baboon offspring of mothers exposed to moderate maternal nutrient reduction.
    Choi J, Li C, McDonald TJ, Comuzzie AG, Mattern V, Nathanielsz PW. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 301(3): R757-R762, 2011.
    PMID 21653880.
  • Moderate global reduction in maternal nutrition has differential stage of gestation specific effects on β 1- and β 2-adrenergic receptors in the fetal baboon liver.
    Kamat A, Nijland MJ, McDonald TJ, Cox LA, Nathanielsz PW, Li C.  Reprod Sci 18(4): 398-405, 2011.
    PMID 21079239.
  • Epigenetic modification of fetal baboon hepatic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase following exposure to moderately reduced nutrient availability.
    Nijland MJ, Mitsuya K, Li C, Ford S, McDonald TJ, Nathanielsz PW, Cox LA. J Physiol 588(8):1349-1359, 2010.
    PMID 20176628
  • Feto-placental Adaptations to Maternal Obesity in the Baboon.
    Farley D, Tejero ME, Comuzzie AG, Higgins PB, Cox L, Werner SL, Jenkins SL, Li C, Choi J, Dick EJ Jr, Hubbard GB, Frost P, Dudley DJ, Ballesteros B, Wu G, Nathanielsz, PW, Schlabritz-Loutsevitch NE. Placenta 30(9): 752-60, 2009.
    PMID 19632719
  • Effects of maternal global nutrient restriction on fetal baboon hepatic IGF system genes and gene products.
    Li C, Schlabritz-Loutsevitch NE, Hubbard GB, Han V, Nygard K, Cox LA, McDonald TJ, Nathanielsz PW. Endocrinology 150(10): 4634-42, 2009.
    PMID 19574404
  • The prolonged effect of repeated maternal glucocorticoid exposure on the maternal and fetal leptin/insulin-like growth factor axis in Papio species.
    Schlabritz-Loutsevitch NE, Lopez-Alvarenga JC, Comuzzie AG, Miller MM, Ford SP, Li C, Hubbard GB, Ferry RJ, Jr., Nathanielsz PW. Reprod Sci 16(3): 308-19, 2009.
    PMID 19087979
  • The IGF axis in baboon pregnancy: placental and systemic responses to feeding 70% global ad libitum diet.
    Li, C., Levitz, M., Hubbard, G.B., Jenkins, S.L., Han, V., Ferry, R.J., Jr., McDonald, T.J., Nathanielsz, P.W., Schlabritz-Loutsevitch, N.E. Placenta 28(11-12): 1200-1210, 2007.
    PMID 17707905
  • Source of corticotropin-releasing hormone-like innervation of the adrenal glands of fetal and postnatal sheep.
    Li C, McDonald TJ. Brain Res. 767(1):87-91, 1997.
    PMID 9365019
Contact Us

Animal Science

1000 E University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2224

Fax: (307) 766-2355


Find us on Instagram (Link opens a new window)Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)Find us on LinkedIn (Link opens a new window)Find us on YouTube (Link opens a new window)