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Department of Zoology and Physiology

College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources

Yun Li

Assistant Professor

Biological Sciences, Room 414; Lab 425


B.S., Biology: University of Science and Technology of China, 1996

M.S., Biology: University of Science and Technology of China, 1998

Ph.D., Physiology: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 2003

Postdoctoral, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Research Interests:

Dr. Li’s research program focuses on studying functions and dysfunctions of the prefrontal cortex. 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 network in mouse models of dementia, depression, and autism, and to help developing strategies for early detection and intervention for these brain disorders.


Introduction to Neuroscience (ZOO4280/ZOO5280/NEUR5280, Fall)

Advanced Topics in Physiology: Calcium Signaling (ZOO4735/ZOO5735, Spring)

Selective Publications:

  1. Liang B, Thapa R, Zhang G, Moffitt C, Zhang Y, Zhang L, Johnston A, Ruby HP, Barbera G, Wong PC, Zhang Z, Lin DT, Li Y. 2022. Aberrant Neural Activity in Prefrontal Pyramidal Neurons Lacking TDP-43 Precedes Neuron Loss. Progress in Neurobiology 215: 112297.
  2. Cahill B, Poelker-Wells S, Prather, JF, Li Y. 2021. A Glimpse Into The Sexual Dimorphisms In Major Depressive Disorder Through Epigenetic Studies. Front. Neural Circuits.15: 768571.
  3. Liang B, Zhang L, Barbera G, Fang W, Zhang J, Chen X, Chen R, Li Y*,#, Lin DT*. 2018. Distinct and dynamic ON and OFF neural ensembles in the prefrontal cortex code social exploration. Neuron 100, 700-714. (*Co-corresponding authors, #Lead Contact)
  4. Barbera G, Liang B, Zhang L, Gerfen CR, Culurciello E, Chen R*, Li Y*, Lin DT*. 2016. Spatially compact neural clusters in the dorsal striatum encode locomotion relevant information. Neuron 92(1), 202-213. (*Co-corresponding authors)
  5. Zhang W, Zhang L, Liang B, Schroeder D, Zhang ZW, Cox GA, Li Y*, Lin DT*. 2016. Hyperactive somatostatin interneurons contribute to excitotoxicity in neurodegenerative disorders. Nat Neurosci 19(4), 557-559. (*Co-corresponding authors)

 ** I am currently recruiting graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

Contact Us

Department of Zoology and Physiology

1000 E. University Ave

Aven Nelson, room 114

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4207

Fax: 307-766-5625


UW Zoology & Physiology

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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