Li I Zhang

Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics
Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute
Keck School of Medicine of USC
PIBBS Mentor

Li I Zhang

Research Topics

  • Synaptic circuitry mechanisms for sensory information processing
  • Technical innovations for tracing brain circuits
  • Neural circuits for innate behavior
  • Synaptic and cellular basis for development and plasticity of neural circuitry
  • Neural circuitry basis for developmental or degenerative neurological diseases
  • Cellular and molecular basis for functional development of mammlian cochlear

Research Images

Research 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.

Contact Information

Mailing Address 1501 San Pablo Street
ZNI 431
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Office Location ZNI 431
Office Phone (323) 442-4347
Lab Location ZNI406 & ZNI419
Lab Phone 323-442-4352
Fax (323) 442-2145
Office Location ZNI 431



  • Postdoc, University of California, San Francisco 2004
  • PhD, University of California, San Diego, 2000
  • MA, Columbia University, 1996
  • BS, Peking (Beijing) University, China, 1994

Selected Publications

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