X li web photo 2 Rdg

XiaoChing Li, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Anatomy


Neuroscience Center of Excellence
School of Medicine, LSU Health

2020 Gravier Street, Rm 814

New Orleans, LA 70112

Telephone: (504) 599-0878

Fax: (504) 568-5801






B.S. Beijing Normal University
Ph.D. Princeton University
Postdoc. Columbia University


Research Interests

gene regulation, neural circuit development, plasticity, vocal learning, neurogenesis, and autism

Research Description

My laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autisms. Particularly, we study gene regulation network related to neural circuit development, sensitive period plasticity, and vocal learning in the zebra finch, taking the unique advantage of its well described vocal learning behavior and the underlying neural circuitry. The FOXP2 gene encodes a transcription factor that plays important roles in the development of neural circuitry related to speech and language functions. Mutations in the FOXP2 gene cause speech/language disorders and dysfunction of FOXP2 has been implicated in Autisms Spectrum Disorders. How the expression of FOXP2 is regulated is not clear. We recently identified several miRNAs that regulate FOXP2 expression. We are now investigating the functions of these miRNAs in the zebra finch brain. We employ a multidisciplinary approach that combines gene regulation, genomics, neural imaging, and behavioral analysis.


Teaching Activities

2008 – Present:  Lecturer in Neuro 203 Investigative Neuroscience (topic: neural plasticity and vocal learning)

2008 – Present:  Lecturer in Neuro 205 Molecular Neurobiology (topic: genetic basis of speech and language functions)

2009 – Present:  Lecturer in INT132 Interdisciplinary Neuroscience (topic: neural circuit    development and plasticity)

2014 – Present:  Lecturer in INT123 Control of Gene Expression (topic: small RNAs)

2015 – Lecturer in INT121 Cell and Molecular Biology (topic: Stem cells)  

2015 – Lecturer in SPTHAUD 7225 Genetics (topic: molecular genetics in speech and language)

2009 – Present: Lecturer in Summer Undergraduate Research Program Seminar Series

Selected Publications

Recent Publication

Lijuan Fu, Zhimin Shi, Guanzheng Luo, Zhide Fang, XiuJie Wang, and XiaoChing Li (2014). Multiple miRNAs regulate human FOXP2 gene expression by targeting sequences in its 3'-untranslated region. Molecular Brain. 2014, 7:71.

Zhimin Shi, Guanzheng Luo, Lijuan Fu, Zhide Fang, XiuJie Wang, and XiaoChing Li (2013). miR-9 and miR-140-5p Target FoxP2 and are Regulated as a Function of the Social Context of Singing Behavior in Zebra Finches.J. Neuroscience.33(42):16510 –16521.

GuanZheng Luo, Markus Hafner, Zhimin Shi, Miguel Brown, Gui-Hai Feng Thomas Tuschl, XiuJie Wang, and XiaoChing Li (2012). Genome-wide annotation and analysis of zebra finch microRNA repertoire reveal sex-biased expression. BMC Genomics. 2012, 13:728

Warren et al., (2010). The genome of a songbird. Nature. Vol. 464, 757-762.

Li, XC , Wang, XJ, Tannenhauser, J, Podell, S, Mukherjee, P, Hertel, M, Biane, J, Masuda, S, Nottebohm, F and Gaasterland, T (2007).  Genomic resources for songbird research and their use in characterizing gene expression during brain development. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. Vol. 104, 6834-6839.

Additional Info


NARSAD, NSF, NIH R21/R01, COBRE Pilot Project Grant