Chunyan Li, PhD

Assistant Professor, The Center for Bioelectronic Medicine,
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine

Phone: (516) 562-1078

About the Investigator

Dr. Chunyan Li is an assistant investigator at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.

Dr. Li completed her graduate studies at the University of Cincinnati with a focus on BioMEMS and Microsystem technology. Her research at the University of Cincinnati focused on the development of multifunctional microsystems. Following graduate school, Dr. Li was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati.

Currently, Dr. Li is utilizing micro and nano technologies to investigate brain pathophysiology after traumatic brain injury. Working with Dr. Raj K. Narayan at the Department of Neurosurgery and Chad Bouton at the Center for Bioelectronic Medicine, she hopes to understand the pathophysiology and mechanisms of traumatic brain injury and develop improved and targeted therapeutic strategies.

Research Focus

The long term goals of Dr. Li’s lab are to understand the pathophysiology and mechanisms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and develop improved and targeted therapeutic strategies.

Development of advanced interfaces for brain and nerves

Dr. Li’s lab is developing novel neural interfaces using flexible polymer MEMS technology.

  • Brain Interface: Micromachined brain probe for real-time continuous monitoring of multiple physiological (ICP, rCBF, temperature), biochemical (oxygen tension, glucose, lactate, glutamate) and electrophysiological (DC-ECoG) variables that are critical in the diagnosis and treatment of evolving brain injury
  • Nerve Interface: Implantable nerve electrical interfaces that can reliably maintain bidirectional high-resolution recording and stimulation without causing nerve damage

Multimodality brain monitoring

The fully functional human brain relies on the complex interplay of physical, chemical, and electrical pathways. Patients with TBI are at high risk of dysfunction in one or more neurologic pathways. There remains no single best physiologic parameter or ‘surrogate marker’ for clinical outcome. Hence, Dr. Li’s team aims to conduct multimodal brain monitoring to capture the multifaceted and dynamic nature of brain injury. In addition, her team investigates the co-interaction among these parameters to decipher the causes and the consequences of secondary brain injury.

Development of a new treatment strategy for TBI

To date, no neuroprotective agents have been shown to significantly improve outcomes for TBI patients. As such, it is urgent to identify and develop a new class of therapeutic strategies to maximize recovery after TBI.

  • Dr. Li’s lab is working on a new therapeutic approach to mitigate and/or treat TBI by trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS). This new therapeutic approach is based on the well-recognized therapeutic potential of peripheral nerve stimulation exemplified by anti-inflammatory properties of vagus nerve stimulation. TNS has an advantage of being able to be performed non-invasively in field conditions. Our hypothesis is that TNS mechanism is based on the activation of an endogenous neuroprotective mechanism, which is part of the known “diving response” phenomenon.
  • Current vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) studies for the treatment of TBI uses an open loop system (i.e., therapy is delivered according to preprogrammed settings); making the system closed loop in which the degree of stimulation is regulated in response to physiological changes, may improve its therapeutic efficacy. The research at Dr. Li’s lab is based on the novelty of real-time tracking of multimodal brain signals to perform a closed-loop VNS for the treatment of TBI. It differs dramatically from the previous studies based on single-time-point behavioral and biological assessment, offers opportunity to apply mechanistic targeting for TBI, and paves the way for identifying the potential feedback signal to modulate VNS for a more efficient treatment.
Lab Members

Kanokwan Limnuson
Post-doctoral Research Trainee
Phone: (516) 562-1078


University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Degree: Postdoctoral
Field of Study: Neurotrauma

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Degree: PhD
Field of Study: BioMEMS and Microsystem Technology

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Degree: MS
Field of Study: BioMEMS and Microsystem Technology

Yanbian University of Science and Technology
Degree: BS
Field of Study: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Honors and Awards

2016 Refractions Innovation Award, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
2016 ThinkFirst Head Injury Prevention Presentation Award, American Association Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting
2015 CNS Best Poster Award, Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Annual Meeting
2013 Mentor Recognition for Developing Sciences & Technology Leaders for the Future, SIEMENS Foundation

  1. C. Li, R. K. Narayan, P. Wang, J. A. Hartings. (2016) “Regional temperature and quantitative cerebral blood flow responses to cortical spreading depolarization in the rat.” Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, pii: 0271678X16667131. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. K. Limnuson, R. K. Narayan, A. Chiluwal, E. V. Golanov, C. E. Bouton, C. Li. (2016) “A user-configurable headstage for multimodality neuromonitoring in freely moving rats.” Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10: 382. Doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00382.
  3. C. Li, W. Chaung, C. Mozayan, R. Chabra, P. Wang, R. K. Narayan. (2016) “A New Approach for on-demand generation of various oxygen tensions for in vitro hypoxia models.” PLoS One, 11(5):e0155921.
  4. J. A. Hartings, C. Li, J. M. Hinzman, J. A. Wilson, G. L. Ernst, N. Andaluz, C. W. Shuttleworth, B. Foreman, J. P. Dreier, A. Carlson. (2016) “Direct-current electrocorticography for clinical neuromonitoring of spreading depolarizations.” Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, pii: 0271678X16653135. [Epub ahead of print]
  5. Z. Wu, C. Li, J. A. Hartings, R. K. Narayan, C. H. Ahn. (2016) “Polysilicon Thin Film Developed on Flexible Polyimide for Biomedical Applications.” Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, 25(4): 585-592.
  6. C. Li, K. Limnuson, Z. Wu, A. Amin, A. Narayan, E. V. Golanov, C. H. Ahn, J. A. Hartings, R. K. Narayan. (2016). “Single probe for real-time simultaneous monitoring of neurochemistry and direct-current electrocorticography.” Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 77: 62-68.
  7. C. Li, R. K. Narayan, P. M. Wu, N. Rajan, Z. Wu, N. Mehan, E. V. Golanov, C. H. Ahn, J. A. Hartings. (2016). “Evaluation of microelectrode materials for direct-current electrocorticography.” Journal of Neural Engineering, 13(1): 016008.
  8. C. Li, Z. Wu, K. Limnuson, C. Cheyuo, P. Wang, C. H. Ahn, R. K. Narayan, J. A. Hartings. (2016) “Development and application of a microfabricated multimodal neural catheter for neuroscience.” Biomedical Microdevices, 18(1): 8. DOI: 10.1007/s10544-016-0034-6.
  9. C. Li, P. M. Wu, Z. Wu, K. Limnuson, N. Mehan, C. Mozayan, E. V. Golanov, C. H. Ahn, J. A. Hartings, R. K. Narayan. (2015). “Highly accurate thermal flow microsensor for continuous and quantitative measurement of cerebral blood flow.” Biomedical Microdevices, 17(5):87.
  10. C. Li, R. K. Narayan. (2014). “Monitoring the injured brain.” Bioelectronic Medicine 1:4-8.

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