1986-1990            B.S., Biochemistry, Nankai University, Tianjin, P.R. China
1994-1999            Ph.D., Molecular Neuroscience, Wayne State University, Michigan

Postdoctoral Training:
1999-2001            Rutgers University

Research Interests:
Spinal cord injury (SCI) and repair, microRNAs (miRNAs), neuronal reprogramming, neurodevelopment, glial development, neural stem/progenitor cells, cell transplantation.

My research is focused on miRNA-mediated mechanisms during CNS development and after SCI. In addition, I combine the in vivo reprogramming technology with miRNA biology to induce miRNA-mediated neuronal reprogramming from endogenous reactive glial cells for SCI functional repair. MiRNAs are small and chemically modifiable, which makes them ideal candidates for therapy as synthetic drug. In fact, some miRNAs are already in clinical trials. My long-term research interest is to understand mechanisms of CNS development and injury, and their therapeutic potentials to treat SCI with a focus on miRNAs.


Current projects:

  • MicroRNA function during neuronal reprogramming in treating spinal cord injury (NIH, R01, PI).
  • Manipulating NeuroD1 expression by microRNAs to optimize neuronal conversion for spinal cord injury repair (NIH, R21, PI).
  • In vivo reprogramming reactive astrocytes into functional neurons by microRNA-124 in the injured spinal cord (NIH, R21, PI).


Lab Members:
Xuanyu (Andy) Chen
, assistant research scientist
Mei Jiang, research manager
Na Jiang, research assistant
Kris Mayes, PhD student (Biomedical Sciences)
Natalie Mseis, PhD student (Biomedical Sciences)
Christine Williams, undergraduate student (AU Honors Program)

We are currently accepting graduate students. We also welcome motivated undergraduate students to join our laboratory.


Selected publications:

Dr. Hedong Li’s NCBI Bibliography link


Media news about our research:
Penn State News

AU Jagwire

The Augusta Chronicle