Geng-Lin Li

Photograph of First Last

Assistant Professor

Contact Info

Phone: 413-545-6044
Office: 418B Morrill II South


B.S., Beijing Normal University, 1998

Ph.D., Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2004


Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, 2004 - 2009

Research Assistant Professor, Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, 2009 - 2011

Research Interests

Synaptic Transmission

Dr. Li’s research focuses on how neural signals are conveyed from one neuron to another through synapses, a specialized structure between a pair of neurons. His research group takes a multidisciplinary approach combining electrophysiology, UV-light uncaging of caged compounds and two-photon imaging techniques, to address some fundamental questions of synaptic transmission and how it shapes neural signal encoding and decoding.

One of his current projects takes advantage of a unique synapse between hair cells and auditory nerve fibers in bullfrog amphibian papilla. By making direct patch-clamp recording on both sides of the synapse in vitro, he was able to stimulate the synapse in the same way as it receives from sound stimulation in vivo. His latest results suggest that hair cells release synaptic vesicles in a cooperated manner, which helps the synapse achieve enough of temporal precision for sound localization.

Representative Publications

Frolov, D., Li, G.L. 2016. Probing electrical tuning of hair cells with a Zap current method in the intact amphibian papilla of bullfrogs. Synapse, in press.

Wang, Z., Joshi, S., Savel’ev, S., Jiang, H., Midya, R., Lin, P., Hu, M., Ge, N., Strachan, J.P., Li, Z., Wu, Q., Barnell, M., Li, G.L., Xin, H., Williams, R.S., Xia, Q., Yang, J. 2016. Memristors with diffusive dynamics as synaptic emulators for neuromorphic computing. Nature Materials, in press.

Li, G.L., Cho, S., von Gersdorff, H. 2014. Phase-locking precision is enhanced by multiquantal release at an auditory hair cell ribbon synapse. Neuron, 83: 1404-1417.

Kim, M.H., Li, G.L., and von Gersdorff, H. 2013. Single Ca2+ channels and exocytosis at sensory synapses. Journal of Physiology, 591: 3167-78.

Graydon, C.W., Cho, S., Li, G.L., Kachar, B., and von Gersdorff, H. 2011. Sharp Ca2+ nanodomains beneath the ribbon promote highly synchronous multivesicular release at hair cell synapses. Journal of Neuroscience, 31: 16637-50.

Cho, S., Li, G.L., and von Gersdorff, H. 2011. Recovery from short-term depression and facilitation is ultrafast and Ca2+-dependent at auditory hair cell synapses. Journal of Neuroscience, 31: 5682-92.

Li, G.L., Keen, E., Andor-Ardó, D., Hudspeth, A.J., and von Gersdorff, H. 2009. The unitary event underlying multiquantal EPSCs at a hair cell's ribbon synapse. Journal of Neuroscience, 29: 7558-68.

Li, G.L. , Vigh, J., and von Gersdorff, H. 2007. Short-term depression at the reciprocal synapses between a retinal bipolar cell terminal and amacrine cells. Journal of Neuroscience, 27: 7377-85.

Hull, C., Li, G.L., and von Gersdorff, H. 2006. GABA transporters regulate a standing GABAC receptor-mediated current at a retinal presynaptic terminal. Journal of Neuroscience, 26: 6979-84.

Vigh, J., Li, G.L., Hul,l C., and von Gersdorff, H. 2005. Long-term plasticity mediated by mGluR1 at a retinal reciprocal synapse. Neuron, 46: 469-82.

Li,G.L., and Yang, X.L. 2003. Glycinergic input to carp retinal ganglion cells may be mediated by glycine receptors with homologous kinetics. Brain Research, 991: 171-9.

Li, G.L., Li P., and Yang, X.L. 2001. Melatonin modulates gamma-aminobutyric acidA receptor-mediated currents on isolated carp retinal neurons. Neuroscience Letters, 301: 49-53.