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Yue-Xian Li


Office phone: 604-822-6225
Web page: Home page
Research area: Cell and Developmental Biology

Modern biotechnology makes it possible to measure variations of crucial indicators of living cells in real time. These indicators include the difference of electrical potential across cellular membranes and the concentration of calcium ions in the intracellular space. These measurements have revealed amazingly complex dynamic patterns. These patterns include oscillations, waves, and stationary spatial structures that are highly nonlinear and are essential for the normal functioning of a cell. Mathematical models have been shown an important tool in explaining and understanding these dynamical phenomena. My research is to develop and analyse mathematical models of these phenomena based on experimentally established mechanisms.

Major research topics
I. Calcium signalling in neuroendocrine cells. This research is about modelling how different types of oscillatory calcium signals can be generated in secretory cells that are electrically excitable: the pituitary gland cells. (The main function of these cells are to secrete hormones in response to hormonal signals from secretory neurons in the hypothalamus.) Calcium signals are crucial for the secretory function of these cells.

II. Fertilization calcium waves in oocytes. This research is about modelling the origin of fertilization calcium waves and the roles of intracellular stores inlcuding mitochondria in these waves. In particular, it is also about the analysis of a novel wave phenomenon: the tango waves that I recently discovered in a model of fertilization calcium waves.

III. Synchrony in neuroendocrine cells and rhythmogenesis in hormonal signals. This is about how synchrony occurs between neighoring pituitary cells and about how secretory neurons in the hypothalamus synchronize in generating pulsatile/rhythmic hormonal signals.

Last updated 20 July 2016