Lei Lei

Lei Lei, Ph.D.



Peter and Cecile Morgane Hall 008
Biddeford Campus
Eligible for Student Opportunities

2021 - Present: Professor, School of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, University of New England

2014 - 2021: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of New England

2010 - 2014: Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of New England

2006 - 2010: Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University

2006: Research Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

1999 - 2005: Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Development Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

1993 - 1998: Graduate Assistant, Department of Biochemistry, Michigan State University  










Department of Biochemistry, Michigan State University, East lansing, Michigan, USA
Department of Biology, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

Post-Doctoral Training

Post-Doctoral Training, Developmental Biology
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, Texas)


Current research

role of Sox11 in chronic pain

function of Sox11 in cortical development

role of Klf7 in cortical development and neurological disorders

Selected publications

Lei, L. and Burton, Z.F. (2021) Evolution of the genetic code.  Transcription 12, 28-53. 

Lei, L. and Burton, Z.F. (2021) Early evolution of transcription systems and divergence of Archaea and Bacteria.  Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences 8.

Lei, L. and Burton, Z.F. (2020) Evolution of life on Earth: tRNA, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and the genetic code.  Life 10: 21.  

Welsbie, D.S., Mitchell, K.L., Ranganathan, V., Sluch, V.M., Yang, Z., Kim, J., Buehler, E., Patel, A., Martin, S., Zhang, P.W., Ge, Y., Duan, Y., Fuller, J., Kim, B.J., Hamed, E., Chamling, X., Lei, L., Fraser, I.D.C., Ronai, Z.A., Berlinicke, C.A., and Zack, D.J. (2017) Enhanced functional genomic screening identifies novel mediators of dual leucine zipper kinase-dependent injury signaling in neurons.  Neuron 94: 1142-1154. 

Burman, M.A., Simmons, C.A., Hughes, M., and Lei, L. (2014) Developing and validating trace fear conditioning protocols in C57BL/6 mice. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 222, 111-7.

Wang, Y., Lin, L., Lai, H., Parada, L.F., and Lei, L.* (2013). Transcription factor Sox11 is essential for both embryonic and adult neurogenesis. Developmental Dynamics 242, 638-53. *Corresponding author.

Lin, L., Lee, V., Wang, Y., Lin, J., Sock, E., Wegner, M., and Lei, L.* (2011). Sox11 regulates survival and axonal growth of embryonic sensory neurons. Developmental Dynamics 240, 52-64. *Corresponding author.

Romero, M., Lin, L., Lush, M., Lei, L., Parada, L.F., and Zhu, Y. (2007).  Deletion of Nf1 in neurons induces increased axon collateral branching after dorsal root injury. Journal of Neuroscience 27, 2124-2134. 

Lei, L.*, and Parada, L.F. (2007). Transcriptional regulation of Trk family neurotrophin receptors (Invited review).  Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 64, 522-532.  * Corresponding author.

Lei, L., Zhou, J., Lin, L., and Parada, L.F. (2006).  Brn3a and Klf7 cooperate to control TrkA expression in sensory neurons.  Developmental Biology 300, 758-769. 

Lei, L., Laub, F., Lush, M., Romero, M., Zhou, J., Luikart, B., Klesse, L., Ramirez, F., and Parada, L.F. (2005).  The zinc finger transcription factor Klf7 is required for TrkA gene expression and development of nociceptive sensory neurons. Genes & Development 19, 1354-1364.

Laub, F., Lei, L., Sumiyoshi, H., Kajimura, D., Dragomir, C., Smaldone, S., Puche, A.C., Petros, T.J., Mason, C., Parada, L.F., and Ramirez, F. (2005).  Transcription factor KLF7 is important for neuronal morphogenesis in selected regions of the nerv¬ous system. Molecular and Cellular Biology 25, 5699-5711.

Ma, L., Lei, L., Eng, S.R., Turner, E., and Parada, L.F. (2003).  Brn3a regulation of TrkA/NGF receptor expression in developing sensory neurons.  Development 130, 3525-3534.

Lei, L., Ma, L., Nef, S., Thai, T., and Parada, L.F. (2001). mKlf7, a potential transcriptional regulator of trkA nerve growth factor receptor expression in sensory and sympathetic neurons.  Development 128, 1147-1158.

Lei, L., Ren, D., and Burton, Z.F. (1999). The RAP74 subunit of human transcription factor IIF has similar roles in initiation and elongation. Molecular and Cellular Biology 19, 8372-8382.

Ren, D., Lei, L., and Burton, Z.F. (1999).  A region within the RAP74 subunit of human transcription factor IIF is critical for initiation but dispensable for complex assembly.  Molecular and Cellular Biology 19, 7377-7387. 

Lei, L., Ren, D., Finkelstein, A., and Burton, Z.F. (1998).  Functions of the N- and C-terminal domains of human RAP74 in initiation, elongation, and recycling of RNA polymerase II.  Molecular and Cellular Biology 18, 2130-2142.

Wang, B.Q., Lei, L., and Burton, Z.F. (1994).  Importance of codon preference for production of human RAP74 and reconstitution of the RAP30/74 complex.  Protein Expression  and Purification 5, 476-485.

Other scholarly activity


The 31st Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. November 10-15, 2001; San Diego, California.

1st Annual Neuroscience Symposium cosponsored by the Barrow Neurological Institute and Arizona State University.

University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, December 6, 2012.

38th Maine Biological and Medical Sciences Symposium, MDIBL, Salisbury Cove, Maine, April 15-16, 2011. 

Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Scarborough, Maine, February 17, 2011.

Research interests

molecular evolution

developmental neurobiology

Research topics

Transcriptional Regulation

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