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Assoc Prof Zeng Li

Assoc Prof Zeng Li

PhD, B.Sc

National Neuroscience Institute


A/Prof ZENG Li is Principal Investigator, Neural Stem Cells Research Lab, Deputy Director, Basic Science & Translational Research and Assistant Director, Research Programs at the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI). She is also an Associate Professor from the Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders Programme, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.

She received her B.Sc in Biology from Beijing Normal University and completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Glasgow. Thereafter, she pursued her postdoctoral training with the Signal Transduction group at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), National University of Singapore (NUS). Subsequently, she joined the Developmental Biology group at IMCB, A*STAR as a Research Scientist.

Since 2009, she has been managing her own research team at NNI, conducting research to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying the microRNA-mediated neurogenesis in neurological disorders. Recently, her lab extended their research interests to the area of establishing neuropathophysiology cross-talk between Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease; as well as to understand stem cell therapy in Parkinson’s Disease through cell assessment and imaging modalities.


  • Ph.D., University of Glasgow, UK, 1996
  • ​B.Sc., Beijing Normal University, China, 1992

Professional Appointments and Committee Memberships

  • Principal Investigator, National Neuroscience Institute
  • Deputy Director, Basic Science & Translational Research, National Neuroscience Institute
  • Assistant Director, Research Programs, National Neuroscience Institute
  • Associate Professor, Programme in Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore
  • Member, ISSCR, 2015 - present
  • Secretary, Society of Neuroscience, Singapore, 2014 - present
  • Secretary, Society of Developmental Biologists, Singapore, 2019 - present
  • Operations Committee, Brain Bank Singapore, 2018 – present


  • ​​SingHealth-Duke NUS Research Team Award, 2019
  • NNI Publish! Award, 2017
  • NNI Publish! Award, 2016
  • NNI Publish! Award, 2014
  • Best Poster Award (Basic Science), SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress, 2012

Research Interests

  • ​Neural Stem Cells
  • MicroRNA-mediated Neurogenesis
  • Novel Stem Cell Therapy
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson Disease


  • Jang SE, Qiu L, Cai X, Lee JWL, Zhang W, Tan EK, Liu Bin, Zeng L. Aggregation-induced Emission (AIE) Nanoparticles Labeled Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs)-derived Neurons for Transplantation. Biomaterials 2021. Manuscript Accepted.
  • Jiang M, Tu HT, Zhang K, Zhang W, Yu WP, Xu J, Tan EK, Guo KH, Zeng L. Impaired neurogenesis in the hippocampus of an adult VPS35 mutant mouse model of Parkinson’s disease through interaction with APP. Neurobiology of Disease 2021.
  • Jiang M, Vanan S, Tu HT, Zhang W, Zhang ZW, Chia SY, Jang SE, Zeng XX, Yu WP, Xu J, Guo KH, Zeng L. APP Intracellular Domain (AICD)-dependent regulation of FOXO3a Inhibits Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis, Neurobiology of Aging 2020. doi:
  • Damodar VR Qiu L, Lee JWL, Chen X, Jang SE, Chai C, Lim, KL, Tan EK, Zhang Y, Huang WM, Zeng L. A microfiber scaffold-based 3D in vitro human neuronal culture model of Alzheimer’s disease. Biomaterials Science 2020. DOI: 10.1039/d0bm00833h.
  • Qiu L., Liao M.C. et al., Zeng L.* & Robins E.G.*. Dopamine transporter neuroimaging accurately assesses the maturation of dopamine neurons in a preclinical model of Parkinson’s disease. Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2020.
  • Vanan S., Zeng X., Chia S.Y., Varnäs K., Zhang K., Jiang M., Padmanabhan P., Yu W.P., Zhou Z.D., Halldin C., Gulyás B., Tan E.K., Zeng L. Altered striatal dopamine levels in Parkinson’s disease VPS35 D620N mutant transgenic aged mice. Molecular Brain 2020.
  • Jang SE, Qiu L, Chan LL, Tan EK and Zeng L. Current status of stem cell-derived therapies for Parkinson’s disease: From Cell Assessment and Imaging Modalities to Clinical Trials. Frontiers in Neuroscience 2020. 14, 5585324.
  • Zhang W, Tan YW, Yam WK, Tu H, Qiu L, Tan EK, Chu JJH, Zeng L. In utero infection of Zika virus leads to abnormal central nervous system development in mice. Sci Rep. 2019. 13;9(1):7298. doi:   10.1038/s41598-019-43303-6.
  • Chen Z, Zhang W, Chua LL, Chai C, Li R, Lin L, Cao Z, Angeles D. C, Stanton W. L, Peng J, Zhou ZD, Lim KL, Zeng L.* Tan EK*. Phosphorylation of amyloid precursor protein by mutant LRRK2 promotes AICD activity and neurotoxicity in Parkinson’s disease. Sci Signal. 2017. 10(488). pii: eaam6790. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aam6790. *co-senior authors.
  • Qiu L, Liao MC, Chen AK, Wei S, Xie S, Reuveny S, Zhou ZD, Hunziker W, Tan EK, Oh SKW, Zeng L. Immature Midbrain Dopaminergic Neurons Derived from Floor-Plate Method Improve Cell Transplantation Therapy Efficacy for Parkinson's Disease. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2017. doi: 10.1002/sctm.16-0470.
  • Chen Z, Cao Z, Zhang W, Gu M, Zhou ZD, Li B, Li J, Tan EK, Zeng L. LRRK2 Interacts with ATM and Regulates Mdm2-p53 Cell Proliferation Axis in Response to
    Genotoxic Stress. *co-senior authors. Hum Mol Genet 2017. 26(22):4494-4505. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddx337.
  • Zhang W, Kim PJ, Chen Z, Lokman H, Qiu L, Zhang K, Rozen SG, Tan EK, Je HS, Zeng L. MicroRNA-128 Regulates the Proliferation and Neurogenesis of Neural Precursors by Targeting Pericentriolar Material 1 (PCM1) in the Developing Neocortex. eLlife 2016. 5. pii: e11324. doi: 10.7554/eLife.11324.

Research Trials