Welcome to the Bo Li Lab

  • The Li Lab 2020

  • The Li Lab

  • Neurons in the central amygdala

  • Harbor View

  • Jones in Summer

  • CSHL in the Fall

  • Jones in Snow

  • Charles Darvin in snow

  • Jones in snow

About the lab

We study the synaptic and circuit mechanisms underlying behavior. We use in vitro and in vivo electrophysiological, imaging, optogenetic, and chemogenetic techniques combined with mouse genetic and molecular methods to probe and manipulate specific neural circuits, and to determine the role of these circuits in adaptive behaviors or maladaptive behaviors related to mental disorders.


How the brain balances pleasure and pain

Tuesday, Dec 31, 2019
As our brains take in information about the world and use it to steer our actions, two key principles guide our choices: seek pleasure and avoid pain. Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have zeroed in on an information-processing hub in the brains of mice to discover how neurons there divide the labor to handle these opposing behavioral motivations. Their work, reported December 31, 2019 in the journal Neuron, reveals that different classes of neurons control positive and negative motivation, sending opposing signals along a shared motivation-processing brain circuit. Ultimately, the balance of activity between these two groups of cells may determine whether a person acts to seek out pleasurable experiences or avoid negative ones, says CSHL Professor Bo Li, who led the study. Read More

Interview with a neuroscientist

Friday, May 31, 2019
Comprised of a M.C. Escher-esque network of pathways, the brain is a maze of chaotic proportions. In its full-functioning glory, the brain helps us move, think, dream, and create. It’s a beautiful marvel of evolution that coordinates and translates messages from cells into emotions, memories, and actions. Read More

How the Brain Hears and Fears

Wednesday, Dec 5 2018

How is it that a sound can send a chill down your spine? By observing individual brain cells of mice, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) are understanding how a sound can incite fear.

Investigator Bo Li focuses on a part of the mouse brain called the amygdala where sights, sounds, and other stimuli take on positive or negative associations through experience. The continuous process of learning and unlearning that occurs in the amygdala appears impaired in people with anxiety disorders or major depression. Understanding brain cell, or neuron activity in the amygdala could result in better treatments. Read More