5125 Rennebohm Hall, 777 Highland Avenue
The Li Lab research program focuses on developing and implementing an array of novel mass spectrometry based strategies for large-scale discovery of novel bioactive neuropeptides and assessing their biological actions on neural circuits using electrophysiology. Although significant effort has been directed to analytical technique and method development, it is the biomedical importance of understanding the neuropeptidergic system that drives our research to continuously refine and improve the analytical capabilities to address challenging neuroscience problems. Specifically, we are interested in understanding the roles that neuropeptides play in food intake, neural network development and response to environmental stresses. While the technology is developed using crustacean model system as a test-bed, the technology advancement resulting from our research is widely applicable to the large-scale analysis of peptides and proteins in many biological systems, including those of mammalian and humans. Towards this end, we have established several exciting collaborations targeted at neurochemical analysis in more complex systems. These collaborative projects include biomarker discovery in various neurodegenerative diseases and ovarian cancer, neuroendocrine regulation in mammalian nervous system, proteomic analysis of human embryonic stem cell derived astrocytes, and metabolomics and tissue imaging in various model organisms. The overall goal of our research program is to transform advances in analytical and chemical tools into important findings that lead to biological insight and biomedical breakthrough.