Huiliang Image 1
A subset of GFP (green) expressing astrocytes in the cortex of a transgenic mouse line. Neurons are marked by NeuN(red) and astrocytes by GFAP (blue)
Image courtesy of Huiliang Li
Huiliang Image 2
A subset of GFP (green) expressing astrocytes in the spinal cord of a transgenic mouse line. Oligodendrocytes are marked by Sox10(red) and astrocytes by GFAP(blue
Image courtesy of Huiliang Li

Dr Huiliang Li

Molecular Mechanisms of Neural Development
Huiliang Li Photo

020 7679 6360

The Central Nervous System (CNS) is made up of diverse types of neurons and glial cells. Glia (literally 'glue') have proven to be much more than a passive support matrix for neurons. In fact, mounting evidence indicates that glia are highly complex cells engaged in a plethora of brain activities. 

Employing transgenic approaches, we aim to find answers to the following questions: 1) how do Neural Stem Cells (NSCs) choose glial versus neuronal fate? 2) what are the molecular mechanisms behind gliogenesis? 3) what are the causes and consequences of glial dysfunction?    

Academic Career

  • 2012-date Group Leader, WIBR, UCL
  • 2002-2012 Research Fellow, WIBR, UCL
  • 2000 CMB Visiting Scholar, American Type Culture Collection
  • 1998-2001 PhD Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College
  • 1995-1998 MSc Chinese National laboratory of Experimental Hematology
  • 1991-1995 BSc Nankai University


Tsai HH, Li H*, Fuentealba L*, Molofsky AV*, Taveira-Marques R*, Zhuang H, Tenney A, Murnen AT, Fancy S, Merkle F, Kessaris N, Alvarez-Buylla A, Richardson WD#, Rowitch DH# (2012). Regional astrocyte allocation regulates CNS synaptogenesis and repair. Science. 337. 358-362 *,# equal contributions.

Li,H., Paes de,F.J., Andrew, P., Nitarska,J., and Richardson,W.D. (2011). Phosphorylation Regulates OLIG2 Cofactor Choice and the Motor Neuron-Oligodendrocyte Fate Switch. Neuron 69, 918-929. Featured article with preview by Gaber,Z.B., et al. Neuron 69, 906-917; highlighted by Yates, D. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 12, 248-249. F1000 'must read'

Li H, He Y, Richardson WD, Casaccia P. (2009). Two-tier transcriptional control of oligodendrocyte differentiation. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2009 19(5):479-85.

Li H, Richardson WD. (2009). Genetics meets epigenetics: HDACs and Wnt signaling in myelin development and regeneration. Nature Neuroscience. Jul;12(7):815-7. 

Li H, Richardson WD.(2008). The evolution of Olig genes and their roles in myelination. Neuron Glia Biol. May;4(2):129-35. 

Li H, Lu, Y, Smith, HK, Richardson WD, (2007) Olig1 and Sox10 interact synergistically to drive myelin basic protein (mbp) gene transcription in the central nervous system. J Neurosci. Dec 26;27(52):14375-82. 

Further publication information can be viewed at


BBSRC New Investigator Award

2013-2016 "Transgenic approaches to understanding astrocyte heterogeneity"