Lei Li Department Chair, UA Little Rock

Lei Li

Research Interests:

My lab studies nervous system development, function, and disease. Using zebrafish models, we investigate how cross-modal sensory signals in the olfactory and visual systems are integrated, how endogenous hormones influence sexual and drug addictive behaviors, and how environmental cues regulate the circadian rhythm of visual activity. In addition, we examine the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neural degeneration and regeneration, particularly those related to Parkinson’s disease.



  • Department Chair, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame
  • Ph.D., Georgia State University
  • Postdoc., Harvard University


Recent Papers:

  • Li, L. (2019) Circadian vision in zebrafish: from molecule to cell and from neural network to behavior. Journal of Biological Rhythms 34, 451-462.
  • Li, L. (2019) Sensory integration: cross-modal communication between the olfactory and visual systems in zebrafish. Chemical Senses 44, 351-356.
  • Li, L., Liu C, Carr AL (2019) STIL: A multi-function protein for dopaminergic neural proliferation, protection, and regeneration. Cell Death Discovery 5:90.
  • Banerjee S, Scheirer WJ, Li, L. (2019) An extreme value theory model of cross-modal sensory information integration in  modulation of vertebrate visual system functions. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 13:3.
  • Li, L., Wojtowicz JL, Malin JH, Huang T, Lee JB, Chen ZJ (2017) GnRH-mediated olfactory and visual inputs promote mating-like behaviors in male zebrafish. PLoS ONE: 12:e0174143.
  • Li, L., Sahi SK, Peng M, Lee EB, Ma L, Wojtowicz JL, Malin JH, Chen W (2016) Luminescence- and nanoparticle-mediated increase of visual sensitivity: Converting UV light to visible light. Scientific Reports 6:20821.
  • Li, L., Carr AL, Sun L, Drewing A, Lee J, Rao ZH (2015) A novel function of the human oncogene Stil: Regulation of PC12 cell toxic susceptibility through the Shh pathway. Scientific Reports 5:16513.
  • Zhao SS, Wang YL, Sun MZ, Lu L, Wang YN, Pfister D, Lee J, Zhao X, Feng XZ, Li, L. (2015) Drug screening: Zebrafish as a tool for studying epileptic-related drug. Protein & Cell 6:853-857.
  • Pfister D, Yu CJ, Kim DS, Li J, Drewing A, Li, L. (2015) Zebrafish olfacto-retinal centrifugal axonal projection: Effects of dopamine and GnRH signaling. Developmental Neuroscience 38, 27-33.
  • Sun L, Li P, Carr AL, Gorsuch R, Yarka C, Li J, Bartlett M, Pfister D, Hyde DR, Li, L. (2014) The SCL/TAL1 interruptinglocus (Stil) is required for cell proliferation in adult zebrafish retinas. Journal of Biological Chemistry 289:6934-6940.
  • Carr AL, Sun L, Lee E, Li P, Antonacci C, Gorbea E, Finlay C, Li, L. (2014) The human oncogene SCL/TAL1 interrupting locus is required for mammalian dopaminergic cell proliferation through the Sonic hedgehog pathway. Cellular Signaling 26, 306-312.