Lu Li is a computational and experimental neurobiologist. She was initially trained as a computational biologist during her PhD studies at EMBL-EBI and Cambridge University, where she developed detailed models to understand how signalling pathways, initiated by neurotransmitter (glutamate) and neuromodulator (dopamine), integrate to modify synaptic plasticity .
|Figure on the right shows calcium spike frequencies, not amplitudes determine synaptic potentiation or depression. However, neuromodulator can change the frequency sensitivity (see ).|
She then joined the research group led by Jean-Antoine Girault in INSERM Paris, where she learned how to perform and analyse life cell imaging experiments in cultured medium-size spiny neuron (such as FRAP, photo-activable-GFP, etc. ). Combining those experiments with modelling approaches, she investigated how proteins, activated at specific dendritic locations, can travel into the nucleus while maintaining their functions. This led her to reveal how neuronal morphology influences the dendritic integration of signalling molecules.
Figure on the left demonstrates a spatial simulation of how cAMP input, at end of secondary dendrite, activates PKA, then DARPP-32 (paper in preperation).
Now, she joined the Le Novère lab, to contribute her knowledge and skills towards understanding molecular mechanisms involved in the late onset of Alzheimer's disease. The major signalling pathways identified by her will be validated in animal models and human induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells by other research partners of AgedBrainSYSBIO project.
She would like to add that although she is sitting at a dry bench of the Babraham Institute, she is very keen on collaborating with cool wet-bench experimentalists.
| L Li, N Gervasi, JA Girault, Dendritic Geometry shapes neuronal cAMP signalling to the nucleus. Nature Communications, 2015;6:6319.|
| L Li, MI Stefan, N Le Novère, Calcium input frequency, duration and amplitude differentially modulate the relative activation of calcineurin and CaMKII. PloS one, 2012;7(9):e43810.|
| N Le Novere, L Li, JA Girault, DARPP-32: molecular integration of phosphorylation potential. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 2008 Jul;65(14):2125-7.