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Welcome to He Lab@USTC: Development Visualized

Exploring Biology with Imaging and Imagination



The true understanding of the biological system requires knowledge about exactly when, where, and how a particular molecule functions. In the past, biological studies have discovered numerous genes that regulate different biological processes. However, significant gaps still exist between these “molecular parts” and the static “phenotype” due to the lack of spatiotemporal information. Our lab uses model organisms, primarily Drosophila melanogaster, to quantitatively study the spatiotemporal dynamics of biological signals and their significance under both physiological and pathological conditions.

Current Projects

Stem Cell Biology
Stem cells play central roles in tissue regeneration and tumorigenesis. We use fly intestinal stem cells and gastrointestinal tumors as models to understand the molecular mechanisms of how stem cells perceive and process the endogenous and exogenous signals as well as their relationship with cancers.
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Visualize the Dynamics
"One picture is worth a thousand words," then how about a video? New live-imaging techniques allow us to explore the unknown dynamics of various molecules in the ever-changing biological systems.
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Organ Morphogenesis
How cells form organs with completely different shapes is an intriguing topic that not only reveals one central secret of multicellular organisms but also paves the foundation for practical applications like tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. We combine genetics and live imaging to dissect the molecular and cellular mechanisms during morphogenesis.
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Synthetic Biology
“What I cannot create, I do not understand.“ We engineer synthetic molecules that allow people to replace, probe, and control complex biological system in vivo in order to truly understand the fundamental logic of the natural machine.
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Li He (何立), Ph.D.

Principle Investigator



Kun He(何昆),

Lab Manager


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Yue Zhang (张悦),

Graduate Student


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Yueqin Xia (夏月琴)

Graduate Student


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Meng Liu (刘梦)

Graduate Student


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Yuchen Xia (夏雨晨)

Graduate Student


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Sizhen Xia (夏偲祯)

Graduate Student


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Zhexian Ma (马哲贤)

Graduate Student


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Shang Wu(吴尚)

Graduate Student


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Chen Zheng (郑晨)

Graduate Student


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Lab Alumni

Xu Tong:Biotech Company 

Chen Xinyu:PhD Candidate,Wuhan University

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Click Here to Learn Lab Resources and Fly Basics




He, L*, Binari R, Huang J, Falo-Sanjuan J, Perrimon N. In vivo study of gene expression with an enhanced dual-color fluorescent transcriptional timer. Elife. 2019 May 29 (*First and co-corresponding author)[pdf]

Hunter, G. L., He, L., Perrimon, N., Charras, G., Giniger, E., and Baum, B. A role for actomyosin contractility in Notch signaling. BMC Biology. November 2019.[pdf]

Ahmad, M, He, L, Perrimon. Regulation of insulin and adipokinetic hormone/glucagon production in flies. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol. 2019[pdf]


He, L.*, Si, G., Huang, J., Samuel, A., and Perrimon, N. Mechanical regulation of stem-cell differentiation by the stretch-activated Piezo channel. Nature, 07 Feb. 2018. (*First and co-corresponding author)[pdf]

Parasram, K, Bernardon, N, Hammoud, M, Chang, H, He, L, Perrimon, N, Karpowicz, P. Intestinal Stem Cells Exhibit Conditional Circadian Clock Function. Stem Cell Reports. 2018 Nov 13;11(5):1287-1301.[pdf]

He, L., Ahmad, M., Perrimon, N., Mechanosensitive channels and their functions in stem cell differentiation. October 2018 Experimental Cell Research 374(2) [pdf]


He, L., Huang, J., and Perrimon, N. (2017) Development of an optimized synthetic Notch receptor as an in vivo cell-cell contact sensor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114, 5467-5472[pdf]

Xu, C., Luo, J., He, L., Montell, C., and Perrimon, N. (2017) Oxidative stress induces stem cell proliferation via TRPA1/RyR-mediated Ca2+ signaling in the Drosophila midgut. eLife 6, e22441. [pdf]


Hunter, G. L., Hadjivasiliou, Z., Bonin, H., He, L., Perrimon, N., harras, G., and Baum, B. (2016) Coordinated control of Notch/Delta signalling and cell cycle progression drives lateral inhibition-mediated tissue patterning. Development 143, 2305-2310. [pdf]


Prasad, M., Wang, X., He, L., Cai, D., and Montell, D. J. (2015) Border cell migration: a model system for live imaging and genetic analysis of collective cell movement. Drosophila Oogenesis. Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 1328. Humana Press, New York, NY. pp 89-97.[pdf]

Chen, C.-L., Hu, Y., Udeshi, N. D., Lau, T. Y., Wirtz-Peitz, F., He, L., Ting, A. Y., Carr, S. A., and Perrimon, N. (2015) Proteomic mapping in live Drosophila tissues using an engineered ascorbate peroxidase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, 12093-12098.[pdf]

Gordon, W. R., Zimmerman, B., He, L., Miles, L. J., Huang, J., Tiyanont, K., McArthur, D. G., Aster, J. C., Perrimon, N., Loparo, J. J., and Blacklow, S. C. (2015) Mechanical allostery: evidence for a force requirement in the proteolytic activation of Notch. Developmental Cell 33, 729-736.[pdf]


Koride, S., He, L., Xiong, L.-P., Lan, G., Montell, D. J., and Sun, S. X. (2014) Mechanochemical regulation of oscillatory follicle cell dynamics in the developing Drosophila egg chamber. Molecular Biology of the Cell 25, 3709-3716.[pdf]

Cai, D., Chen, S.-C., Prasad, M., He, L., Wang, X., Choesmel-Cadamuro, V., Sawyer, J. K., Danuser, G., and Montell, D. J. (2014) Mechanical feedback through Ecadherin promotes direction sensing during collective cell migration. Cell 157, 1146-1159. (Cover Story)[pdf]


He, L. and Montell, D. (2012) A cellular sense of touch. Nature Cell Biology (News and Views) 14, 902-903.[pdf]


He, L., Wang, X., and Montell, D. J. (2011) Shining light on Drosophila oogenesis: live imaging of egg development. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 21, 612-619. [pdf]

Sawyer, J. K., Choi, W.*, Jung, K.-C.*, He, L.*, Harris, N. J., and Peifer, M. (2011) A contractile actomyosin network linked to adherens junctions by Canoe/afadin helps drive convergent extension. Molecular Biology of the Cell 22, 2491-2508. (*equal contribution)[pdf]

Wu, Y. I., Wang, X., He, L., Montell, D., and Hahn, K. M. (2011) Spatiotemporal control of small GTPases with light using the LOV domain. Methods in Enzymology 497, 393-407. [pdf]

Prasad, M., Wang, X., He, L., and Montell, D. J. (2011) Border cell migration: a model system for live imaging and genetic analysis of collective cell movement. Cell Migration. Methods in Molecular Biology (Methods and Protocols), vol 769. Humana Press, New York, NY. pp 277-286. 2010 [pdf]


He, L.*, Wang, X.*, Tang, H. L., and Montell, D. J. (2010) Tissue elongation requires oscillating contractions of a basal actomyosin network. Nature Cell Biology 12, 1133-1142 *co-first author)[pdf]

Wang, X.*, He, L.*, Wu, Y. I., Hahn, K. M., and Montell, D. J. (2010) Light mediated activation reveals a key role for Rac in collective guidance of cell movement in vivo. Nature Cell Biology 12, 591-597 (*co-first author) [pdf]


Lab News

For prospective lab members

Postdoctoral Scientist: We welcome candidates who are interested in the following directions: functional live-cell imaging, organ development and homeostasis, intestinal stem cells, and cell mechanics. Please send your CV and a brief statement of research interests to Dr. He (lihe19@ustc.edu.cn).

Graduate Students: We are looking for highly motivated individuals who are interested in conducting research in visualization and control of the dynamic properties of biological systems in vivo.

Undergraduate Students: Undergraduate students will have independent research projects and learn different techniques of molecular biology, fly genetics, and live-cell imaging.

Please send your CV to Dr. He (lihe19@ustc.edu.cn)

Contact Us:

Email: lihe19@ustc.edu.cn

Phone: 086-0551-63606857


Li He, Ph.D.

Rm 107, Life Science Bldg. USTC
#443 Huangshan Street, Hefei, Anhui, 230027 P.R.China.



中国科学技术大学西校区 生命科学楼 107

安徽省 合肥市 蜀山区 黄山路 443

邮编 230027

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