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Professor Shi-Jiang Li

Shi-Jiang Li, PhD


Professor of Biophysics
Director, Center for Imaging Research

Department of Biophysics
Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
Phone: 414-955-4029
Fax: 414-955-6512

Selected Publications



Lab Members 

  • Gang Chen, PhD, Research Scientist II
  • Guangyu Chen, Doctoral Student
  • Wenjun Li, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Hao Shu, Project Appointment
  • Chunming Xie, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Xingyu Xu, Doctoral Student
  • Zhan Xu, Doctoral Student
  • Kathleen Qian Yin, BS, Research Technologist III
    .     Provides technical support for fMRI applications to drug abuse and neuropharmacology with animal models


Dr. Shi-Jiang Li received his engineering degree from the Department of Electronics Engineering at Tsinghua University, the People's Republic of China. He worked for eight years as a communication engineer and later as a graduate student in the Biophysics Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Science. He received his PhD from Ohio State University in Biochemistry and spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine MRI/MRS laboratory. His multidisciplinary education and experiences have provided him with a broad background to conduct sophisticated biophysics research.

Research Interests

At present, Dr. Li has two NIH-funded research projects:

  • Imaging Cocaine Valuations in the Human Brain by fMRI
    National Institute on Drug Abuse
    It is hypothesized that cocaine is a disease agent and that repeated cocaine use alters brain valuation circuitry in which the predictive error signal between the expected cocaine value and the outcome upon cocaine delivery goes awry; this could bias the decision-making processes and lead to addiction. We will use the fMRI-BOLD method with cocaine-dependent human subjects to test our hypothesis. The proposed study will greatly enhance our understanding of drugs of abuse and may potentially guide the development of new treatments for addiction. 

  • A Composite MR Neuroimaging Marker for Alzheimer's Disease
    National Institute on Aging
    Neuropathological changes related to Alzheimer's Disease (AD) may begin 20 to 30 years before the onset of clinical symptoms in individuals at great risk. AD affects an estimated 4.5 million Americans and is expected to affect as many as 16 million Americans by 2050, as the baby boomers reach the age at which they are most at risk. It is of major concern to explore and develop new technologies for the early detection of AD in order to facilitate disease prevention, diagnosis, and effective treatment. The goal of this proposal is to develop an innovative imaging technology for the early detection of AD. We propose a new composite MRI Neuroimaging (MRN) Index, obtained by quantitatively combining two functional MRI measurements: Functional Connectivity Index (FCI) and Regional Cerebral Blood Flow (rCBF)-Perfusion Deficits at the resting-state condition. We will employ the MRN index to distinguish mild cognitive impaired subjects who are destined to develop AD from individuals evidencing the normal aging processes or converting to different types of dementia. 

and collaborates with Dr. Anthony Hudetz on this NIH-funded project:

  • General Anesthetics and Cerebral Cortical Sensory Integration
    National Institute of General Medical Sciences
    This research project should help us better understand how general anesthetics work, in particular, how they remove consciousness in the anesthetized patient. The knowledge gained should help develop safer anesthetics and better methods to determine the presence or absence of consciousness during anesthesia. Using anesthetic drugs as investigational tools, the project will also help understand how nerve cells in the brain collaborate to create human and animal consciousness. 

Dr. Li collaborates with many distinguished investigators, conducting multidisciplinary research in related frontiers: Dr. Anthony Hudetz, Professor of Anesthesiology; Dr. Alan Bloom, Professor of Pharmacology; Dr. Piero Antuono, Professor of Neurology; Dr. Travis Fisher, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; and Dr. Michael McCrea, Professor of Neurosurgery.
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 09/25/2014