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Kun Li

Li, Kun

Email: kli@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn

Phone: +86 10 62799528 


[Education & Experience]

9/2020-present, School of Life Science, Tsinghua University, Assistant Professor

9/2020-present, Center for Life Sciences, PI

9/2020-present, IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain, Tsinghua University, PI

2014-8/2020 The Rockefeller University, USA, Postdoctoral Fellow

2008-2014 Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, Ph.D.

2003-2008 Jilin University, China, B.S.


[Research Focus]


  Sexually dimorphic control on intrinsic behaviors including parental care, sexual behaviors and aggression has been extensively shown in the previous decades. Howevergender differences in the brain are not confined to the regulation of innate reproductive behaviors specific to sexes. Gender disparities in normal social and emotional reactions, as well as the incidence of mental disorders are constantly documented. The neural mechanisms responsible for sexual dimorphism in sophisticated social cognition and emotional responses are still poorly understood. Our research interests are focused on understanding how sex variations in the brain from molecules to circuits lead to gender biases in social and emotional behaviors. Our lab's long-term goal is to use this information to decipher the process driving sexual dimorphism in mental diseases. We use pathway-specific and activity-dependent Translating Ribosome Affinity Purification (TRAP) methods in combination with other complementing methodologies including as RNA sequencing, optogenetics, electrophysiology and calcium imaging tools to elucidate the neural basis underlying sexually bivalent behaviors.


[Selected publications]

1. Antolin-Fontes B, Li K, Ables JL, Riad MH, Görlich A, Williams M, Wang C, Lipford SM, Dao M, Liu J, Molina H, Heintz N, Kenny PJ, Ibañez-Tallon I. The habenular G-protein-coupled receptor 151 regulates synaptic plasticity and nicotine intake. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Mar 10;117(10):5502-5509. (2020)


2. Li K, Nakajima M, Ibañez-Tallon I, Heintz N. A Cortical Circuit for Sexually Dimorphic Oxytocin-Dependent Anxiety Behaviors. Cell. Sep 22;167(1):60-72.e11. (2016)


3. Li K*, Zhou T*, Liao L, Yang Z, Wong C, Henn F, Malinow R , Yates J, Hu H. βCaMKII in lateral habenula mediates core symptoms of depression. Science 341:1016-1020. (2013) (*co-the first author)


4. Zhao CT, Li K, Li JT, Zheng W, Liang XJ, Geng AQ, Li N, Yuan XB. PKCδ regulates cortical radial migration by stabilizing the Cdk5 activator p35. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 106(50):21353-8. (2009)



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