Professor LI Ying

Portrait of Prof. Ying Li    

Office:  P6322, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building
+852 3442-2669
Fax:  +852 3442-0549

CityU Scholars





       MD (Beijing), FAGA (US)

       Chair Professor, Department of Neuroscience (NS)

    P6322, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong

Investigate the brain targets of chronic pain, emotional and cognitive deficits, focusing on the subcortical-Anterior Cingulate Cortical interaction by optogenetics, chemogenetics, electrophysiology and animal behavior.


2017–present, Honors Professor, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Hong Kong
2009–present, Professor Department of Neuroscience Science, Department Biomedical Science, City University of Hong Kong
2002–2009, Associate Research Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Medical School Department of Internal Medicine Gastroenterology
1993–2001, Research Investigator, Assistant Research Scientist, University of Michigan
1985–1992, Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Associate, University of Michigan
1979–1984, Oral-maxillofacial Surgeon, Nanjing Medical School, China
1969–1978, General Surgeon, Qinghai Huzo and Qinghai Medical School, China
1962–1968, Beijing Medical University, China

Research Topics

  • Central nervous system sensitization, synaptic plasticity and circuit-level interactions
  • Brain target for chronic pain, circuit mechanism of pain and cognitive deficits
  • Glia-neuron interaction, learning and memory
  • Sensory signal transduction in the vagal primary afferent neurons
  • Animal models of neurogenic disorders

A major goal of Prof. Li’s work is to characterize chronic pain sensation and pain affection associated synaptic metaplasticity and circuit-level interactions between the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala that lead to emotional and cognitive disturbances. By combining large-scale neural recordings and optogenetics in free moving animals, Prof. Li and his team characterize the disruptions of ACC phase-locking and network information flow during learning-memory tasks in rats.

His current projects are making significant progress in elucidating astrocyte coupling in large spatial domains, and determining how astrocytic L-lactate signaling facilitates amygdala-ACC, HPC-ACC synchrony and cognition.

Prof. Li ongoing studies investigate the mechanism of brain myelination, seeking to demonstrate that optimal synchrony of spike‑time arrival is of fundamental importance in schematic-like learning, consolidation and memory retrieval.

In addition, Prof. Li is the pioneer of studies which clarified that cholecystokinin-8, a gastrointestinal hormone released during feeding, acts on the vagal afferent and enables the modulation visceral pain-related affective memory and maintains the ACC neural network synchrony in rats.

Ongoing Research Projects

(as sole principle investigator)

NSFC/RGC #9054021, GRF #9042612, GRF #11102820, Shenzhen-Hong Kong Institute of Brain Science #R-BTC0703, Inno HK subproject.

10 Selected Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

  1. Hasan M, Kanna M.S, Wang J, Aruna S. R, Iqbal Z, Lee Y, and Li Y*. Schema-like learning and memory consolidation acting through myelination. The FASEB Journal. 2019, 33(11), 11758-11775.
  2. Jun Wang, Jie Tu, Bing Cao, Li M, X Yang, Mi Cong, Aruna S. R, Rosa H. M, Chan, Liping Wang, Ying Li.* Astrocytic L-lactate Signaling Facilitates Amygdala-Anterior Cingulate Cortex Synchrony and Decision-making in Rats. Cell Reports. 2017, 21, 2407–2418
  3. Bing Cao Jun Wang, Mahadi Shahed, Beth Jelfs, Rosa H. M. Chan & Ying Li*, Vagus Nerve Stimulation Alters Phase Synchrony of the Anterior Cingulate Cortex and Facilitates Decision Making in Rats. Scientific Reports | 6:35135 | DOI: 10.1038/srep35135. 2016
  4. J Wang, X Zhang, B Cao, J Liu, Ying Li*. Facilitation of synaptic transmission in the anterior cingulate cortex in the viscerally hypersensitive rats Cerebral Cortex 2013; doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht273.
  5. Cao, Z., Wu, X., Chen, S, C Owyang, Y Li*. Anterior cingulate cortex modulates visceral pain as measured by visceromotor responses in viscerally hypersensitive rats, Gastroenterology. 134:535-543, 2008.
  6. J Fan, X Wu, Z Cao, S Chen, C Owyang, and Ying Li*. Upregulation of anterior cingulate cortex NR2B receptors contributes to visceral pain as measured by visceromotor responses in rats. Gastroenterology136:1732–1740,2009.
  7. Gao J, X Wu, C Owyang, Ying Li*. Enhanced response of the anterior cingulate cortex to colonic distension in viscerally hypersensitive rats. J Physiolog (Lond).570 (1):169-184, 2006.
  8. Ying Li, Hao Y, Owyang C. Diazepam-binding inhibitor mediates feedback regulation of pancreatic secretion and postprandial release of cholecystokinin. Journal of Clinic Investigation105:351-359, 2000.
  9. Ying Li, Owyang C. Peptone stimulates CCK-releasing peptide secretion by activating intestinal submucosal cholinergic neurons. Journal of Clinic Investigation97:1463-1470, 1996.
  10. Ying Li, Owyang C. Vagal afferent pathways mediate physiological action of cholecystokinin on pancreatic secretion. Journal of Clinic Investigation92:418-424, 1993

Total no. of citations: 2804, H-index: 33;
Prof. Li is the first or correspondence author of 88% of his publications.