Welcome to the Li Lab
Research in the Li Lab is at the crossroads of reproductive and RNA biology. Germ cells give rise to the gametes of organisms as "immortal creators". They perpetuate themselves and diversify their offspring. We strive to understand the information flow from generation to generation. RNAs function as information carriers preceding the first life. While most well understood RNAs function as intermediates coding for proteins, more than 90% of RNAs in an adult mouse testis come from untranslated regions (UTRs) and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). However, the majority of these sequences are not conserved and their functions are unknown. The questions that motivate our research are:
- What are these RNA sequences coded for? How do they function in reproduction?
- What are the roles of UTR and ncRNAs in physiological and pathological conditions?
- What are the functional consequences of UTRs and ncRNA diversification from an evolutionary perspective?
We are using an interdisciplinary approach to address these questions, across different model organisms including mammals and birds. We aim to uncover novel, fundamental, and essential mechanisms of RNA regulation.