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Li Zhang, PhD

Title(s)Professor of Physiology & Neuroscience
AddressZNI 419, 1501 San Pablo Street
Health Sciences Campus
Los Angeles CA 90033
Phone+1 323 442 4347
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    Other Positions
    Title(s)Director of the Center for Neural Circuits and Sensory Processing Disorders


    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Awards and Honors
    White House2008Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
    David and Lucile Packard Foundation2006Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering
    Searle Scholar Program, Kinship Foundation2005Searle Scholar Award
    The Esther A. & and Joseph Klingenstein Fund2005Klingenstein Fellowship Award in Neuroscience

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    As a systems neuroscientist, our ultimate research goal is to decipher the brain circuits, and to understand how perception and behaviors are generated and controlled, how the brain’s cortex adapts in response to changes in the dynamic external environment, and how specific changes in cortical functions result in neurological and psychiatric disorders. To address these highly challenging questions, our approach is to resolve the neural circuitry (how neurons are wired in the brain), i.e. the structural basis underlying the brain functions.

    Technical innovation is the key for exploring the dauntingly complex brain circuits. In the past years, we have committed substantial efforts in developing molecular/genetic and electrophysiological/imaging techniques for elucidating the neural circuits for both local neuronal computation and for controlling animal behavior. To this end, we have pioneered in applying in vivo whole-cell voltage-clamp recording, to reveal at the synaptic connection level, how the excitatory and inhibitory synaptic interplay determines the sensory response/processing properties. We have now integrated a broad spectrum of state-of-the-art approaches, including in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, two-photon Ca2+ imaging, neural modeling, anatomical tracing and optogentics, to build an understanding of neural circuits composed of different cell types.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Cell atlas of mouse brain-spinal cord connectome
    NIH/NIMH U01MH116990Sep 1, 2018 - May 31, 2023
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Novel fluorescent sensors based on GPCRs for imaging neuromodulation
    NIH/NINDS U01NS103558Sep 30, 2017 - Jun 30, 2020
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    Integrative approach to classifying neuronal cell types of the mouse hippocampus
    NIH/NIMH RF1MH114112Sep 1, 2017 - Aug 31, 2020
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    Synaptic circuitry mechanism for auditory cortical processing
    NIH/NIDCD R01DC008983Aug 1, 2007 - Jul 31, 2019
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Synaptic Receptive Field of Auditory Cortical Inhibitory Neuron
    NIH/NIDCD R21DC008588Dec 1, 2006 - Nov 30, 2009
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Synaptic basis for cortical tonal receptive field
    NIH/NIDCD R03DC006814Jan 1, 2005 - Dec 31, 2007
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help. to make corrections and additions.
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    Altmetrics Details PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Dcc Mediates Functional Assembly of Peripheral Auditory Circuits. Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 04; 6:23799. Kim YJ, Wang SZ, Tymanskyj S, Ma L, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 27040640.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    2. Cross-Modality Sharpening of Visual Cortical Processing through Layer-1-Mediated Inhibition and Disinhibition. Neuron. 2016 Mar 02; 89(5):1031-45. Ibrahim LA, Mesik L, Ji XY, Fang Q, Li HF, Li YT, Zingg B, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 26898778.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 39     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    3. Synaptic Basis for Differential Orientation Selectivity between Complex and Simple Cells in Mouse Visual Cortex. J Neurosci. 2015 Aug 05; 35(31):11081-93. Li YT, Liu BH, Chou XL, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 26245969.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    4. EphA7 regulates spiral ganglion innervation of cochlear hair cells. Dev Neurobiol. 2016 Apr; 76(4):452-69. Kim YJ, Ibrahim LA, Wang SZ, Yuan W, Evgrafov OV, Knowles JA, Wang K, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 26178595.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    5. Auditory cortex controls sound-driven innate defense behaviour through corticofugal projections to inferior colliculus. Nat Commun. 2015 Jun 11; 6:7224. Xiong XR, Liang F, Zingg B, Ji XY, Ibrahim LA, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 26068082.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 30     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    6. Functional response properties of VIP-expressing inhibitory neurons in mouse visual and auditory cortex. Front Neural Circuits. 2015; 9:22. Mesik L, Ma WP, Li LY, Ibrahim LA, Huang ZJ, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 26106301.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 17     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    7. Thalamocortical Innervation Pattern in Mouse Auditory and Visual Cortex: Laminar and Cell-Type Specificity. Cereb Cortex. 2016 06; 26(6):2612-25. Ji XY, Zingg B, Mesik L, Xiao Z, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 25979090.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 40     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    8. Sensory Cortical Control of a Visually Induced Arrest Behavior via Corticotectal Projections. Neuron. 2015 May 06; 86(3):755-67. Liang F, Xiong XR, Zingg B, Ji XY, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 25913860.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 30     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    9. Synaptic mechanisms for generating temporal diversity of auditory representation in the dorsal cochlear nucleus. J Neurophysiol. 2015 Mar 01; 113(5):1358-68. Zhou M, Li YT, Yuan W, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 25475349.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    10. Thresholding of auditory cortical representation by background noise. Front Neural Circuits. 2014; 8:133. Liang F, Bai L, Tao HW, Zhang LI, Xiao Z. PMID: 25426029.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCellsPHPublic Health
    11. A feedforward inhibitory circuit mediates lateral refinement of sensory representation in upper layer 2/3 of mouse primary auditory cortex. J Neurosci. 2014 Oct 08; 34(41):13670-83. Li LY, Ji XY, Liang F, Li YT, Xiao Z, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 25297094.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 46     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    12. Formation of excitation-inhibition balance: inhibition listens and changes its tune. Trends Neurosci. 2014 Oct; 37(10):528-30. Tao HW, Li YT, Zhang LI. PMID: 25248294.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    13. At the interface of sensory and motor dysfunctions and Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Jan; 11(1):70-98. Albers MW, Gilmore GC, Kaye J, Murphy C, Wingfield A, Bennett DA, Boxer AL, Buchman AS, Cruickshanks KJ, Devanand DP, Duffy CJ, Gall CM, Gates GA, Granholm AC, Hensch T, Holtzer R, Hyman BT, Lin FR, McKee AC, Morris JC, Petersen RC, Silbert LC, Struble RG, Trojanowski JQ, Verghese J, Wilson DA, Xu S, Zhang LI. PMID: 25022540.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 82     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    14. Scaling down of balanced excitation and inhibition by active behavioral states in auditory cortex. Nat Neurosci. 2014 Jun; 17(6):841-50. Zhou M, Liang F, Xiong XR, Li L, Li H, Xiao Z, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 24747575.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 91     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    15. Strengthening of Direction Selectivity by Broadly Tuned and Spatiotemporally Slightly Offset Inhibition in Mouse Visual Cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2015 Sep; 25(9):2466-77. Li YT, Liu BH, Chou XL, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 24654259.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 12     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    16. Enhancing gene delivery of adeno-associated viruses by cell-permeable peptides. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2014; 1:12. Liu Y, Kim YJ, Ji M, Fang J, Siriwon N, Zhang LI, Wang P. PMID: 26015948.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    17. Differential Receptive Field Properties of Parvalbumin and Somatostatin Inhibitory Neurons in Mouse Auditory Cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2015 Jul; 25(7):1782-91. Li LY, Xiong XR, Ibrahim LA, Yuan W, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 24425250.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 51     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    18. Interaural level difference-dependent gain control and synaptic scaling underlying binaural computation. Neuron. 2013 Aug 21; 79(4):738-53. Xiong XR, Liang F, Li H, Mesik L, Zhang KK, Polley DB, Tao HW, Xiao Z, Zhang LI. PMID: 23972599.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 32     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    19. Linear transformation of thalamocortical input by intracortical excitation. Nat Neurosci. 2013 Sep; 16(9):1324-30. Li YT, Ibrahim LA, Liu BH, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 23933750.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 65     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    20. Intracortical multiplication of thalamocortical signals in mouse auditory cortex. Nat Neurosci. 2013 Sep; 16(9):1179-81. Li LY, Li YT, Zhou M, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 23933752.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 49     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    21. Slit/Robo signaling mediates spatial positioning of spiral ganglion neurons during development of cochlear innervation. J Neurosci. 2013 Jul 24; 33(30):12242-54. Wang SZ, Ibrahim LA, Kim YJ, Gibson DA, Leung HC, Yuan W, Zhang KK, Tao HW, Ma L, Zhang LI. PMID: 23884932.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 15     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    22. Synaptic mechanisms underlying functional dichotomy between intrinsic-bursting and regular-spiking neurons in auditory cortical layer 5. J Neurosci. 2013 Mar 20; 33(12):5326-39. Sun YJ, Kim YJ, Ibrahim LA, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 23516297.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 33     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    23. Generation of intensity selectivity by differential synaptic tuning: fast-saturating excitation but slow-saturating inhibition. J Neurosci. 2012 Dec 12; 32(50):18068-78. Zhou M, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 23238722.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 19     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    24. Generation of spike latency tuning by thalamocortical circuits in auditory cortex. J Neurosci. 2012 Jul 18; 32(29):9969-80. Zhou Y, Mesik L, Sun YJ, Liang F, Xiao Z, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 22815511.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 27     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    25. Broadening of cortical inhibition mediates developmental sharpening of orientation selectivity. J Neurosci. 2012 Mar 21; 32(12):3981-91. Li YT, Ma WP, Pan CJ, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 22442065.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 32     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    26. Neurite outgrowth inhibitor Nogo-A establishes spatial segregation and extent of oligodendrocyte myelination. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jan 24; 109(4):1299-304. Chong SY, Rosenberg SS, Fancy SP, Zhao C, Shen YA, Hahn AT, McGee AW, Xu X, Zheng B, Zhang LI, Rowitch DH, Franklin RJ, Lu QR, Chan JR. PMID: 22160722.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 68     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    27. Perspectives on: information and coding in mammalian sensory physiology: inhibitory synaptic mechanisms underlying functional diversity in auditory cortex. J Gen Physiol. 2011 Sep; 138(3):311-20. Zhang LI, Zhou Y, Tao HW. PMID: 21875980.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    28. Broad inhibition sharpens orientation selectivity by expanding input dynamic range in mouse simple cells. Neuron. 2011 Aug 11; 71(3):542-54. Liu BH, Li YT, Ma WP, Pan CJ, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 21835349.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 67     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    29. From elementary synaptic circuits to information processing in primary auditory cortex. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2011 Nov; 35(10):2094-104. Wu GK, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 21609731.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 26     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    30. Visual representations by cortical somatostatin inhibitory neurons--selective but with weak and delayed responses. J Neurosci. 2010 Oct 27; 30(43):14371-9. Ma WP, Liu BH, Li YT, Huang ZJ, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 20980594.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 98     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    31. Fine-tuning of pre-balanced excitation and inhibition during auditory cortical development. Nature. 2010 Jun 17; 465(7300):927-31. Sun YJ, Wu GK, Liu BH, Li P, Zhou M, Xiao Z, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 20559386.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 94     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    32. Preceding inhibition silences layer 6 neurons in auditory cortex. Neuron. 2010 Mar 11; 65(5):706-17. Zhou Y, Liu BH, Wu GK, Kim YJ, Xiao Z, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 20223205.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 52     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    33. Intervening inhibition underlies simple-cell receptive field structure in visual cortex. Nat Neurosci. 2010 Jan; 13(1):89-96. Liu BH, Li P, Sun YJ, Li YT, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 19946318.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 64     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    34. Visual receptive field structure of cortical inhibitory neurons revealed by two-photon imaging guided recording. J Neurosci. 2009 Aug 26; 29(34):10520-32. Liu BH, Li P, Li YT, Sun YJ, Yanagawa Y, Obata K, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 19710305.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 79     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    35. A genetic strategy for stochastic gene activation with regulated sparseness (STARS). PLoS One. 2009; 4(1):e4200. Wang SZ, Liu BH, Tao HW, Xia K, Zhang LI. PMID: 19145242.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    36. Lateral sharpening of cortical frequency tuning by approximately balanced inhibition. Neuron. 2008 Apr 10; 58(1):132-43. Wu GK, Arbuckle R, Liu BH, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 18400169.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 133     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    37. Defining cortical frequency tuning with recurrent excitatory circuitry. Nat Neurosci. 2007 Dec; 10(12):1594-600. Liu BH, Wu GK, Arbuckle R, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 17994013.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 87     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    38. Heterosynaptic scaling of developing GABAergic synapses: dependence on glutamatergic input and developmental stage. J Neurosci. 2007 May 16; 27(20):5301-12. Liu Y, Zhang LI, Tao HW. PMID: 17507553.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 26     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    39. Nonmonotonic synaptic excitation and imbalanced inhibition underlying cortical intensity tuning. Neuron. 2006 Nov 22; 52(4):705-15. Wu GK, Li P, Tao HW, Zhang LI. PMID: 17114053.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 75     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    40. Specialization of primary auditory cortex processing by sound exposure in the "critical period". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 May 04; 101(18):7170-4. Nakahara H, Zhang LI, Merzenich MM. PMID: 15118079.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 26     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    41. Tone-evoked excitatory and inhibitory synaptic conductances of primary auditory cortex neurons. J Neurophysiol. 2004 Jul; 92(1):630-43. Tan AY, Zhang LI, Merzenich MM, Schreiner CE. PMID: 14999047.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 121     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    42. Topography and synaptic shaping of direction selectivity in primary auditory cortex. Nature. 2003 Jul 10; 424(6945):201-5. Zhang LI, Tan AY, Schreiner CE, Merzenich MM. PMID: 12853959.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 152     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    43. Suppression of cortical representation through backward conditioning. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Feb 04; 100(3):1405-8. Bao S, Chan VT, Zhang LI, Merzenich MM. PMID: 12538854.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    44. Moving visual stimuli rapidly induce direction sensitivity of developing tectal neurons. Nature. 2002 Oct 03; 419(6906):470-5. Engert F, Tao HW, Zhang LI, Poo MM. PMID: 12368854.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 59     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    45. Disruption of primary auditory cortex by synchronous auditory inputs during a critical period. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Feb 19; 99(4):2309-14. Zhang LI, Bao S, Merzenich MM. PMID: 11842227.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 71     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCellsPHPublic Health
    46. Persistent and specific influences of early acoustic environments on primary auditory cortex. Nat Neurosci. 2001 Nov; 4(11):1123-30. Zhang LI, Bao S, Merzenich MM. PMID: 11687817.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 146     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    47. Electrical activity and development of neural circuits. Nat Neurosci. 2001 Nov; 4 Suppl:1207-14. Zhang LI, Poo MM. PMID: 11687831.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 144     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    48. Emergence of input specificity of ltp during development of retinotectal connections in vivo. Neuron. 2001 Aug 30; 31(4):569-80. Tao HW, Zhang LI, Engert F, Poo M. PMID: 11545716.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 28     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    49. Visual input induces long-term potentiation of developing retinotectal synapses. Nat Neurosci. 2000 Jul; 3(7):708-15. Zhang LI, Tao HW, Poo M. PMID: 10862704.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 36     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    50. Selective presynaptic propagation of long-term potentiation in defined neural networks. J Neurosci. 2000 May 01; 20(9):3233-43. Tao H, Zhang LI, Bi G, Poo M. PMID: 10777788.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    51. A critical window for cooperation and competition among developing retinotectal synapses. Nature. 1998 Sep 03; 395(6697):37-44. Zhang LI, Tao HW, Holt CE, Harris WA, Poo M. PMID: 9738497.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 160     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
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