Ming Li

Professor, Susan J. Rosowski Professorship and Neuroscience & Behavior Program Coordinator Psychology

Lab site: Biopsychology webpage

Curriculum vita (PDF)


2002-July, 2005                                     Postdoctoral Fellow,  Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada
1996-2002                                                Ph.D.  Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Canada

1993-1996                                                 M.S.   Department of Psychology, Beijing University, Beijing, China

1987-1991                                                 B.S.     Department of Psychology, Beijing University, Beijing, China

Awards and Honors

2015                  College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award

2013-                 Fellow, American Psychological Association Div. 6.

2014-                 Fellow, American Psychological Association Div. 28.

2014-                  Fellow, Midwestern Psychological Association

2006-2007        Recipient of the UNL Parents Association “Certificate of Recognition for Contributions to Students”

2002-2005        Ontario Mental Health Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

2004                    D. G. Marquis Behavioral Neuroscience Award for the best paper published in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Research Interests

1. What are the psychological processes and neurobiological mechanisms underlying the development of psychosis?
2. How do antipsychotic drugs affect the brain and psychological functions?
3. Why do patients with schizophrenia like to smoke cigarettes?
4. What are the neurobiological bases of maternal behavior?


Psych 465/865: Behavioral Neuroscience
Psych 464: Psychoneuropharmacology
Psych 904: Proseminar in Physiological Psychology

Representative Publications

Journal Articles: *corresponding author

Peer reviewed

1. Coiro P, Padmashri R, Suresh A, Spartz E, Pendyala G, Chou S, Jung Y, Meays B, Roy S, Gautam N, Alnouti Y, Li M, Dunaevsky A (2015) Impaired synaptic development in a maternal immune activation mouse model of neurodevelopmental disorders. Brain Behav Immun.

2. Yang Y, Qin J, Chen W, Sui N, Chen H, Li M* (2015). Behavioral and pharmacological investigation of anxiety and maternal responsiveness of postpartum female rats in a pup elevated plus maze, Behavioural Brain Research, 2015 Jul 6;292:414-427. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.07.010.

3. Li, M* (2015): Antipsychotic Drugs on Maternal Behavior in Rats, Behavioural Pharmacology, 2015 Sep;26(6):616-26. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000168.

4. Swalve, N, Barrett, S, Bevins, RA and Li, M (2015): Examining the Reinforcement-Enhancement Effects of Phencyclidine and Its Interactions with Nicotine on Lever-Pressing for a Visual Stimulus, Behavioural Brain Research, Sep 15;291:253-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.05.043.

5. Chou, SY, Jones, S and Li M* (2015): Adolescent olanzapine sensitization is correlated with hippocampal stem cell proliferation in a maternal immune activation rat model of schizophrenia, Brain Research, Aug 27;1618:122-35. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2015.05.036.

6. Swalve, N, Pittenger, S, Bevins, RA and Li, M (2015): Behavioral Effects of Phencyclidine on Nicotine Self-Administration and Reinstatement in the Presence or Absence of a Visual Stimulus in Rats, Psychopharmacology, Aug;232(16):2877-87. doi: 10.1007/s00213-015-3923-0.

7. Gao J, Li M* (2015): Repeated administration of aripiprazole produces a sensitization effect in the suppression of avoidance responding and phencyclidine-induced hyperlocomotion and increases D2 receptor-mediated behavioral function, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Apr;29(4):390-400

8. Chou, SY; Davis, C; Jones, S and Li, M* (2014): Repeated effects of the neurotensin receptor agonist PD149163 in three animal tests of antipsychotic activity: assessing for tolerance and cross-tolerance to clozapine, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 2014 Nov 26;128C:78-88. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2014.11.015.

9. Feng, M, Gao, J, Sui, N and Li, M* (2015): Effects of central activation of serotonin 5-HT2A/2C or dopamine D2/3 receptors on the acute and repeated effects of clozapine in the conditioned avoidance response test; Psychopharmacology, 2015 Apr;232(7):1219-30

10. Shu, Q, Qin, RY, Chen, YZ, Hu, G* and Li, M* (2014): Asenapine sensitization from adolescence to adulthood and its potential molecular basis, Behavioural Brain Research, 2014 Oct 15;273:166-76. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.07.042. Epub 2014 Aug 2.

11. Gao J, Li M* (2014): Differential Effects of Intermittent versus Continuous Haloperidol Treatment throughout Adolescence on Haloperidol Sensitization and Social Behavior in Adulthood, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 2014 Oct 3;54:67-75.

12. Sun, T, Liu, XF, and Li, M* (2014): Environmental Cues on Behavioral Efficacy of Haloperidol, Olanzapine and Clozapine in Rats, Behavioural Pharmacology, 2014 Aug;25(4):277-86. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000047

13. Chen, WH, Zhang, Q, Su, WX, Zhang, HR, Yang, Y, Qiao, J, Sui, N, and Li, M* (2014): Effects of 5-hydroxytryptamine 2C receptor agonist MK212 and 2A receptor antagonist MDL100907 on maternal behavior in postpartum female rats, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 117: 25-33.

14. Navarro-Yepes J, Zavala-Flores L, Anandhan A, Wang F, Skotak M, Chandra N, Li M, Pappa A, Martinez-Fong D, Del Razo LM, Quintanilla-Vega B, Franco R (2014) Antioxidant gene therapy against neuronal cell death. Pharmacol Ther 142: 206-30.

15. Qiao, J, Gao J, Shu, Q, Zhang, QL, Hu, G, and Li, M* (2014), Long-lasting sensitization induced by repeated risperidone treatment in adolescent Sprague-Dawley rats: A possible D2 receptor mediated phenomenon? Psychopharmacology, 231: 1649-59. PMID: 24363078.

16. Shu, Q, Hu, G and Li, M* (2013): Adult Response to Olanzapine or Clozapine Treatment is altered by Adolescent Antipsychotic Exposure: A Preclinical Test in the Phencyclidine Hyperlocomotion Model, Journal of Psychopharmacology.

17. Li, M* and He, W (2013): An automatic recording system for the study of escape from fear in rats, Behavioral Processes, 100, 13–17.

18. Gao J, Li M* (2013) Time-dependence of risperidone and asenapine sensitization and associated D receptor mechanism. Behav Brain Res, 257: 286-94.

19. Qiao, J, Zhang, QL, Li M* (2013) Long-term impacts of adolescent risperidone treatment on behavioral responsiveness to olanzapine and clozapine in adulthood, Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 177-85.

20. S. Charntikov, N. Swalve, S. Pittenger, K. Fink, S. Schepers, G. C. Hadlock, A. E. Fleckenstein, G. Hu, M. Li, & R. A. Bevins (2012): Iptakalim attenuates self-administration and acquired goal-tracking behavior controlled by nicotine, Neuropharmacology, 37: 876-84.

21. Qin, Chen and Li, M* (2013): Repeated Asenapine Treatment Produces a Sensitization Effect in Two Preclinical Tests of Antipsychotic Activity, Neuropharmacology, Aug 14;75C:356-364. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.05.031

22. Shu, Q, Hu, G and Li, M* (2013): Is Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor a Possible Mechanism Underlying Risperidone Sensitization in Adolescent Rats? Biochem & Pharmacol S1: 004. doi:10.4172/2167-0501.S1-004, [Open Access]

23. Qiao J, Li H, Li, M* (2013) Olanzapine sensitization and clozapine tolerance: from adolescence to adulthood in the conditioned avoidance response model. Neuropsychopharmacology 38: 513-24.

24. Feng, M, Sui, N and Li, M* (2012): Environmental and behavioral controls of the expression of clozapine tolerance: Evidence from a novel across-model transfer paradigm, Behavioural brain research, 2012 Oct 23. doi:pii: S0166-4328(12)00648-1. 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.10.009.

25. Feng, M, Sui, N and Li, M* (2012): Avoidance disruptive effect of clozapine and olanzapine is potentiated by increasing the test trials: Further test of the motivational salience, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 103: 467-473.

26. Zhao, CJ and Li, M* (2012): Neuroanatomical substrates of the disruptive effect of olanzapine on rat maternal behavior as revealed by c-Fos immunoreactivity, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 2012 Aug 31;103(2):174-180.

27. Sparkam, N and Li, M* (2012): Drug-drug conditioning between citalopram and haloperidol or olanzapine in a conditioned avoidance response model: Implications for polypharmacy in schizophrenia, Behavioural Pharmacology, 2012 Oct;23(7):658-68.

28. Volf, N, Hu, G and Li, M* (2012): Iptakalim preferentially decreases nicotine-induced hyperlocomotion in phencyclidine-sensitized rats: A potential dual action against nicotine addiction and psychosis, Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience, Dec;10(3):168-79.

29. Swalve and Li, M* (2012): Parametric studies of antipsychotic-induced sensitization in the conditioned avoidance response model: Roles of number of drug exposure, drug dose, and test-retest interval, Behavioural Pharmacology, 2012 Aug;23(4):380-91

30. Li, M*, He, W, and Munro, R (2012): Differential effects of acute amphetamine and phencyclidine treatment and withdrawal from repeated amphetamine or phencyclidine treatment on social interaction and social memory in rats, PsyCh Journal, June 2012, 1(1), 56-68.

31. Zhao, CJ, Sun, T and Li, M* (2012): Neural basis of the potentiated inhibition of repeated haloperidol and clozapine treatment on the phencyclidine-induced hyperlocomotion, Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 2012 Aug 7;38(2):175-82.

32. Zhang, C and Li, M* (2012): Contextual and behavioral control of antipsychotic sensitization induced by haloperidol and olanzapine, Behavioural Pharmacology, Feb;23(1):66-79.

33. Li, M*, Sun, T, and Mead, A (2012): Clozapine, but not olanzapine disrupts conditioned avoidance response in rats by antagonizing 5-HT2A/2C receptors, Journal of Neural Transmission, 2012 Apr;119(4):497-505. Epub 2011 Oct 11.

34. Charntikov, S, Tracy, M, Zhao, CJ, Li, M, Bevins, R (2011): Conditioned response evoked by nicotine conditioned stimulus preferentially induces c-Fos expression in medial regions of caudate-putamen, Neuropsychopharmacology, 2011 Nov 2. doi: 10.1038/npp.2011.263.

35. Grant, K, LeVan, T, Wells, S, Li, M, Stoltenberg, S, Gendelman, H, Carlo, G and Bevins, R (2012): Methamphetamine-associated psychosis, J Neuroimmune Pharmacol 7: 113-39.

36. Li, M*, He, W, and Chen, J (2011): Time course of prepulse inhibition disruption induced by dopamine agonists and NMDA antagonists: Effects of drug administration regimen, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 99(3), 509-518.

37. Li, M*, He, W, and Heupel, K (2011): Administration of clozapine to a mother rat potentiates pup ultrasonic vocalization in response to separation and re-separation: Contrast with haloperidol, Behav Brain Res 222: 385-9.

38. Li, M*, He, W, and Volf, N (2011): Time course of the attenuation effect of repeated antipsychotic treatment on prepulse inhibition disruption induced by repeated phencyclidine treatment, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 2011 Mar 21;98(4):559-569.

39. Kathryn Wilson, David Hansen and Ming Li (2011): The Traumatic Stress Response in Child Maltreatment and Resultant Neuropsychological Effects, Aggression and Violent Behavior, 16 (2011) 87–97.

40. Zhang, C, Fang, YR, and Li, M* (2011): Behavioral mechanisms of the disruptive effect of olanzapine and risperidone in the rat conditioned avoidance response model: further evidence, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 2011 Mar;98(1):155-60. Epub 2010 Dec 29.

41. Chen, J, Wang, ZC, and Li, M* (2011): Multiple “hits” during postnatal and early adulthood periods disrupt the normal development of sensorimotor gating ability in rats. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2011;25:379-92.

42. Li, M*, Sun, T, Zhang, C, Hu, G (2010): Distinct neural mechanisms underlying acute and repeated administration of antipsychotic drugs in rat avoidance conditioning, Psychopharmacology, Sep;212(1):45-57.

43. Sun, T, He, W, Hu, G, Li, M* (2010): Anxiolytic property of risperidone and olanzapine as examined in multiple measures of fear in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 2010 May;95(3):298-307.

44. Sun, T, Zhao, CJ, Hu, G, Li, M* (2010): Iptakalim: A potential antipsychotic drug with novel mechanisms? European Journal of Pharmacology, 2010 May 25;634(1-3):68-76.

45. Zhao, CJ, Li, M* (2010): C-FOS identification of neuroanatomical sites associated with haloperidol and clozapine disruption of maternal behavior in the rat. Neuroscience, 2010 Apr 14;166(4):1043-55.

46. Zhao, CJ, Li, M* (2009): The receptor mechanisms underlying the disruptive effects of haloperidol and clozapine on rat maternal behavior: A double dissociation between dopamine D2 and 5-HT2A/2C receptors. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 2009 Oct;93(4):433-42. Epub 2009 Jun 17.

47. Li, M*, He, W, Mead, A (2009) An investigation of the behavioral mechanisms of antipsychotic action using a drug-drug conditioning paradigm. Behavioural Pharmacology, 2009 Mar;20(2):184-94.

48. Mead A, Li M* (2010) Avoidance-Suppressing Effect of Antipsychotic Drugs is Progressively Potentiated after Repeated Administration: an Interoceptive Drug State Mechanism. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2010 Jul;24(7):1045-53. Epub 2009 Mar 27.

49. Li, M*, He, W, Mead, A (2009) Olanzapine and risperidone disrupt conditioned avoidance responding in phencyclidine or amphetamine pretreated rats by selectively weakening motivational salience of conditioned stimulus. Behavioural Pharmacology, 20: 84-98.

50. Sun, T, Hu, G, Li, M* (2009): Repeated antipsychotic treatment progressively potentiates inhibition on phencyclidine-induced hyperlocomotion, but attenuates inhibition on amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion: Relevance to animal models of antipsychotic drugs. European Journal of Pharmacology, 602:334-342.

51. Zhao, CJ, Li, M* (2009): Sedation and disruption of maternal motivation underlie the disruptive effects of antipsychotic treatment on rat maternal behavior. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 92: 147-156.

52. Mead, A, Li, M*, Kapur, S (2008): Clozapine and Olanzapine Exhibit an Intrinsic Anxiolytic Property in Two Conditioned Fear Paradigms: Contrast with Haloperidol and Chlordiazepoxide. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 90 (2008) 551–562

53. Li, M*, He, W and Munro, R (2008): Amphetamine Selectively Enhances Avoidance Responding to a Less Salient Stimulus in Rats. Journal of Neural Transmission, 2008 May;115(5):773-6.

54. Parada, M, King, S, Li, M and Fleming, A (2008): The roles of accumbal dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in maternal memory in rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, Apr;122(2):368-76.

55. Li, M, Fletcher PJ, Kapur S (2007) Time Course of the Antipsychotic Effect and the Underlying Behavioral Mechanisms. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2007, Feb;32(2):263-72.

56. Smith AJ, Li M, Becker S, Kapur S (2007) Linking Animal Models of Psychosis to Computational Models of Dopamine Function. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2007 Jan;32(1):54-66

57. Smith A, Li, M, Becker S, Kapur S (2006) Dopamine, prediction error and associative learning: A model-based account. Network 17:61-84.

58. Li, M, Budin, R, Fleming, A, and Kapur, S (2005) Effects of novel antipsychotics, amisulpiride and aripiprazole, on maternal behavior in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005, 181(3) 600-10.

59. Li, M., Budin, R, Fleming, A, and Kapur, S (2005) Effects of chronic typical and atypical antipsychotic drug treatment on maternal behavior in rats. Schizophrenia Research, 75/2-3 pp 325-336.

60. Li, M. Parkes, J, Fletcher, PJ, and Kapur, S. (2004) Evaluation of the motor initiation hypothesis of APD-induced conditioned avoidance decreases. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 78(4), 811-819.

61. Smith, A, Li, M, Becker, S and Kapur, S. (2004) A Model of Antipsychotic Action in Conditioned Avoidance: A Computational Approach. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2004 Jun, 29(6) 1040-9.

62. Li, M., Davidson, P, Budin, R, Kapur, S and Fleming, A (2004) Effects of typical and atypical antipsychotic drugs on maternal behavior in postpartum female rats. Schizophrenia Research, 2004 Sep 1;70(1):69-80.

63. Li, M. and A.S. Fleming (2003) The nucleus accumbens shell is critical for normal expression of pup-retrieval in postpartum female rats. Behavioural Brain Research, 2003. 145(1-2): p. 99-111.

64. Li, M. and A.S. Fleming (2003) Differential involvement of nucleus accumbens shell and core subregions in maternal memory in postpartum female rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, 2003. 117(3): p. 426-45.

65. Lee, A., Li, M. Watchus, J, Fleming AS (1999) Neuroanatomical basis of maternal memory in postpartum rats: selective role for the nucleus accumbens. Behavioral Neuroscience, 1999. 113(3): p. 523-38.

Invited papers

66. Li, M*, Mead, A, Bevins, RA (2009) Individual Differences in Responding to Nicotine: Tracking Changes from Adolescence to Adulthood. Acta Pharmacol Sin 2009, Jun; 30 (6): 868–878

67. Kapur, S, Agid, O, Mizrahi, R, and Li, M (2006) How antipsychotics work—From receptors to reality. NeuroRx, 3 (1), 10-21.

68. Kapur, S, Mizrahi, R, and Li, M (2005) From dopamine to salience to psychosis - Linking biology, pharmacology and phenomenology of psychosis. Schizophrenia Research, 2005 Nov 1;79(1):59-68.

Publications in Chinese

69. Gao, J and Li, M* (2015): Antipsychotic-induced behavioral sensitization and tolerance and the related neurobiological mechanisms, Translational Medicine Research (Electronic Edition), 2014, 4 (4): 45-53 DOI: 10.3868/j.issn.2095-154x.2015.01.006

70. Shu, Q, Duan, ZG, Hu, G and Li, M* (2012): Psychological mechanisms of dopamine in psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia: Recent theoretical and empirical advances, CHINESE SCIENCE BULLETIN.

Book chapters

71. Fleming, A, and Li, M (2002). Psychobiology of maternal behavior in non-human mammals. Handbook of Parenting (second edition, eds. Marc H. Bornstein), Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002.


1. Title: "Functional Characterization of a Causative Gene for Intellectual Disability"

Role: Co-Investigator (0.45 month/year, PI: Woo-Yang Kim at UNMC)
Agency: NINDS
Type: 1 R01 NS091220-01
Period: 03/01/2015-02/29/2020
Direct cost: $1,250,000

2. Title: "Adolescence neurogenesis mechanisms of antipsychotic sensitization and tolerance"
Role: Principal Investigator
Type: R03HD079870
Period: 02/01/2015-01/31/2017
Total cost: $157,802

3. Title: "Serotonin, Maternal Behavior and Postpartum Depression"
Role: Principal Investigator
Agency: DHHS-Nat Inst Mental Health
Type: R01MH097718
Period: 06/01/2013-03/31/2018
Total cost: $1,497,476

4. Title: "Behavioral mechanisms of antipsychotic action"
Role: Principal Investigator
Agency: DHHS-Nat Inst Mental Health
Type: R01MH085635
Period: 03/22/2010-01/31/2015 (no cost extension to 01/31/2016)
Total cost: $1,447,532

5. Title: "Mechanisms of Synaptic Alterations in a Neuroinflammation Model of
Role: Co-Investigator
Agency: Department of Defense (DoD) FY12 Autism Research Program
Type: AR120096
Period: 09/30/2013-09/29/2016
Total cost: $$579,822.00

6. Title: "How Nicotine Sensitivity in Adulthood is Altered by Adolescent
Antipsychotic Treatment: A Preclinical Investigation"
Role: Principal Investigator
Agency: Nebraska Health and Human Services
Type: Research grant (2016-23)
Period: 07/01/2015-06/30/2016
Total cost: $50,000


7. Title: "Iptakalim for nicotine use in schizophrenia: A preclinical test"
Role: Principal Investigator
Agency: Nebraska Health and Human Services
Type: Research grant
Period: 07/01/2010-06/30/2011
Total cost: $40,000

8. Title: "Anxiolytic Property of Atypical Antipsychotics"
Role: Principal Investigator
Agency: DHHS-Nat Inst Mental Health
Type: R21 MH079894
Period: 01/01/2008-12/31/2010
Total cost: $362,145

9. Title: "Antipsychotic Drugs and Maternal Behavior: A Preclinical Investigation"
Role: Principal Investigator
Agency: DHHS-Nat Inst Mental Health
Type: R03 MH080822
Period: 09/15/2007-07/31/2010
Total cost: $132,750

10. Title: "Iptakalim: A Potential Antipsychotic Drug with Novel Mechanisms"
Role: Principal Investigator
Agency: Stanley Medical Research Institute
Type: Research grant
Period: 08/2007-07/2010
Total cost: $150,000

11. Title: "Behavioral Mechanisms of Action of Atypical Antipsychotics: A Preclinical Investigation"
Role: Principal Investigator
Agency: National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD)
Type: Young Investigator Award
Period: 07/2007-06/2010
Total cost: $60,000

12. Title: "Nicotine Effects in Adolescent and Adult Rats"
Role: Principal Investigator
Agency: Nebraska Health and Human Services
Type: Research grant (2008-03B)
Period: 07/01/2008-06/30/2009
Total cost: $40,000

Intramural Grants


1. UNL Layman New Direction award (role: PI, June 2012-May 2013): Central Receptor Mechanisms of Antipsychotic Drugs: A Central Infusion Study, $16,108

2. NU Nebraska Research Initiative Grant (role: co-I, PI: Anna Dunaevsky, 7/1/12- 6/30/13): Nanotherapeutics in Neuroinflammation Model of Autism, $100,000

3. UNL Life Sciences Competitive Grants (Role: co-I: 07/2011-06/2013): Gene Therapy Against Neurodegenerative Disorders Associated with Pesticide Exposure, $72,000

4. Faculty seed grant (role: PI, 2008-2009): Characterizing Reconsolidation of Persistent Avoidance Responding, $9,943

5. Faculty seed grant (role: PI, 2006-2007): How Antipsychotic Drugs Work Psychologically?------An Animal Behavioral Investigation, $9,980

6. UNL Layman award (role: PI, co-I: Dr. Bevins, June 2006-May 2007): Persistent Avoidance Responding as an Animal Model of Schizophrenia, $9,995

Sponsored NIH Fellowships

1. Natashia Swalve: "Novel hypothesis for the comorbidity of schizophrenia and nicotine abuse in rats"; NIH 1 F31 DA034407-01; Dates: 09/01/2012 - 08/13/2014

2. Sergios Charntikov: "Role of dmCPu in acquisition and expression of nicotine CS evoked CR"; NIH 1F31DA034449-01A1; Dates: 04/01/2013-03/31/2015