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About Geng-Lin Li

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. In particular, he is interested in synapses in sensory systems where the connectivity is more simplified and the information context is more clear. 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 sensory information 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 recordings 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. In response to these stimulations, afferent fibers fire spikes showing phase-locking, a feature reminiscent of that found only in vivo. This allows him to study synaptic transmission in vivo with a preparation in vitro. His results suggest that under physiological conditions a few synaptic vesicles can be released from a single release site in a cooperated manner, and that the cooperated release can enhance the temporal precision of the synapse.


Present Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst


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Contact Information

311A Morrill III South
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003


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