Jun-Xu Li MD, PhD

Jun-Xu Li

Jun-Xu Li

Professor; Vice Chair for Research

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Specialty/Research Focus

Behavioral pharmacology; Drug abuse; Neurobiology

Contact Information
3207, JSMBS
955 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14214
Phone: (716) 829-2482

Professional Summary:

I have two primary research interests. First, I use pharmacological approaches to seek novel therapeutics for pain. Pain is an agonizing symptom and disease that affects millions of people. Analgesics like opioids (e.g., OxyContin) are powerful for treating many pain conditions. However, opioids are not efficacious for some pain (e.g., neuropathic pain) and prolonged use of opioids has many side effects, including tolerance and dependence. The laboratory has been working on two interesting drug targets (imidazoline I2 receptors and GABAa receptors) for years in the hope that novel safer and effective analgesics can be developed from our preclinical research.

Second, I am interested in pharmacotherapy of drug abuse. We use powerful behavioral pharmacological approaches, in animal models that are predictive of human stimulant abuse conditions, to study novel drug targets and evaluate potential pharmacotherapies against addictions to opioids, psychostimulants and nicotine.

One unifying theme of the ongoing research in my laboratory is the application of receptor theory to the guidance and interpretation of the drug-receptor interactions in behaving animals.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Pharmacology, Peking University

Awards and Honors:

  • ASPET-JH Woods Early Career Award in Behavioral Pharmacology (2019)
  • CPDD Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award (2016)
  • UB Exceptional Scholar-Young Investigator Award (2014)
  • Early Career Investigator Award (2007)

Research Expertise:

  • Behavioral Pharmacology: We use various behavioral pharmacological procedures to understand how drugs work at the behavioral level. Procedures used include drug discrimination, schedule-controlled responding, drug self-administration, delay discounting, place conditioning, locomotor activity and various acute and chronic pain tests.
  • Pain and Addiction: We are interested in understanding the neurobiological crosstalk between pain and addiction. To reach this goal, we are developing novel behaivoral procedures to simultaneously measure pain affect and addiction-related behaviors.
  • Quantitative Pharmacological Analysis: The precise understanding of the interactions between drugs from the same or different classes requires quantitative analysis methods. These analytical strategies help to ascertain the behavioral effects of drugs in an quantitative manner.

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • April 2019–February 2024
    TAAR1 agonists for nicotine addiction
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • February 2016–January 2023
    Allosteric modulation of the CB1 receptor.
    Role: Co-Investigator
  • August 2021–January 2022
    Iterative learning and automated modular platform for optimum nonaddictive analgesic discovery.
    Role: Principal Investigator


  • Novel combination therapy for anxiety disorders, epilepsy, and pain (2019)

Journal Articles:

See all (108 more)

Professional Memberships:

  • American College on Neuropsychopharmacology; Associate member (2016–present)
  • Behavioral Pharmacology Society (2009–present)
  • American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (2007–present)

Service Activities:

  • On average, I review 5-6 manuscripts per month.; Ad hoc reviewer for over 30 journals. (2022)
  • Advances of Pharmacology Volume 93: Behavioral Pharmacology of Drug Abuse: Current Status; Editor (2020–2022)
  • ; Member, Departmental Executive Committee on Research/Educational Portfolio Planning (2020–2022)
  • ; Standing member of BRLE Study Section, NIH (2019–2023)
  • ; Member of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) (2018–2022)
  • ; Member, Promotion and Tenure Committee (2018–2022)
  • ; Member of Graduate Fellowship Committee (2017–2021)
  • ACS Chemical Neuroscience; Editorial Board member (2017–2022)
  • Pharmacology & Therapeutics; Associate Editor (2016–2022)
  • ; Member, School of Medicine Faculty Council (2014–2022)
  • ; Member, Ph.D Program in Biomedical Sciences Admission Committee (2011–2013)
  • ; Member, Education Committee Graduate Subcommittee Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology (2011–2022)

School News:

In the Media:

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Insurance Accepted:

Contact Information

3207, JSMBS
955 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14214
Phone: (716) 829-2482