Photo of Yuanhao James  Li, Ph.D.

Yuanhao James Li, Ph.D.

Professor, Genetics and Genome Sciences
Academic Office Location:
Genetics and Genome Sciences
UConn Health
400 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-6403
Phone: 860-679-3836
Fax: 860-679-8345

Genetics and Developmental Biology Graduate Program

Neuroscience Graduate Program

James Li Lab

B.S.Zhongshan UniversityBiochemistry
Ph.D.University of TexasMolecular Genetics

Post-Graduate Training
PostdoctoralHHMI in Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of MedicinePostdoctoral Fellow in the Developmental Genetics Program

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Individual National Research Service Award
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
Search Committee for Neuroscience Endowed Chair positionAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthInternational20192019
Search Committee for new faculty of the Department of Genetics and Genome SciencesAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthInternational20192020
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Developmental Biology Subcommittee (CHHD-C)Study SectionRegular memberExternalNational20162020
NIH Study Sections, Developmental Brain Disorders (DBD)Study SectionAd Hoc memberExternalNational20142015
UCHC Biomedical Sciences graduate admissions committeeEducation CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20132016
Animal Services Advisory Committee of UCHCAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity2007
UCHC Biomedical Sciences Graduate Admissions CommitteeAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20052007
Society for Developmental BiologyProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational
Society for NeuroscienceProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational

Our research program focuses on the molecular and cellular processes that regulate the development of the cerebellum. The cerebellum is best known for its crucial rule in motor coordination. However, emerging evidence indicates that the cerebellum contributes to cognition and emotion as well. Accordingly, abnormalities in cerebellar development and function are linked to a wide variety of developmental brain diseases, such as autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, and language impairment. Despite the uniform appearance in its cytoarchitecture, the cerebellar cortex is subdivided into different functional areas resembling the cortical maps of the cerebrum. We are interested in the mechanisms that control the cellular heterogeneity and connectivity, which culminate in the parcellation of the cerebellar cortex. We use single-cell genomics and computational analysis to systematically study the gene regulatory networks that govern cell fate specification and cell differentiation in the developing cerebellum. Concurrently, we use mouse genetics to investigate how alterations of the regulatory network affect cerebellar development and function. Through these studies, our long-term goal is to gain insight into the causes of cerebellar-related diseases and develop therapeutic strategies to improve the quality of life of affected individuals.

Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Spring 2023

We also have openings for postdoctoral research associates!


Journal Articles


Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
Bergmann Glia Development, Genesis and DifferentiationTalkThe 8th International Symposium of the Society for Research on the Cerebell2017Winnipeg, Manitoba , Canada
Shp2-dependent ERK signaling is essential for induction of Bergmann glia and foliation of the cerebellumPanel Discussion2014Ventura, CA
Analysis of the development of the mouse inner ear using Gbx2 as a guide.PosterSociety for Neuroscience Annual Meeting2008Washington, DC
Cassette Exchange”: a Cre-loxP mediated recombination method for efficient generation of stable transgenic human embryonic stem cell lines.PosterAnnual Connecticut Stem Cell Technology Symposium2008Farmington, CT
Gbx2-dependent program regulates axon guidance of the thalamocortical projections. PosterGordon Conference on Neural Development2008Newport, RI
Gbx2 and Fgf8 are sequentially required for formation of the mid-hindbrain compartment boundary.PosterSociety For Developmental Biology, 67st Annual Meeting2008Philadelphia, PA
Gbx2-dependent program regulates axon guidance of the thalamocortical projections.PosterNortheast Regional Developmental Biology Meeting2007Northeast, USA
Fgf8 function is orchestrated by different Fgf8 splice variants.PosterGordon Conference on Fibroblast, Growth Factors In Development & Disease2006Ventura, CA
Fgf8 function is orchestrated by different Fgf8 splice variants.PosterDevelopment Biology, Gordon Research Conferences2005New Hampshire
Expressing Gbx2 in rhombomere 4 in Gbx2 mutants rescues rhombomere 3 and causes deletion of the posterior midbrain.PosterDevelopment Biology, Gordon Research Conferences2003New Hampshire
Temporal requirements for Gbx2 in cerebellar development. PosterSociety For Developmental Biology, 61st Annual Meeting2002New Hampshire
Genetic analysis of Otx2 and Gbx2 function in mid-hindbrain development.Poster2001 Development Biology, Gordon Research Conferences2001New Hampshire