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Physio - Wehrens Lab

Houston, Texas

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Xander H.T. Wehrens Lab
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Na Li

Na Li


Ph.D. Research Division of Pharmacology, China Pharmaceutical University, China
Postdoc Associate, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Research Focus:

My research focuses on elucidation of molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the development of atrial fibrillation (AF), which is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia. In particular, I study the microRNA-mediated transcriptional regulation of ion channels that are associated with pathogenesis of AF. I conduct translational studies by utilizing genetically modified mouse models, large mammal AF models, and samples from AF patients. The long-term goal of my research is to identify targets for drug development in AF patients.


  • 2012 Finalist of Melvin L. Marcus Young Investigator Award in Cardiovascular Sciences, American Heart Association
  • 2010 South Central Affiliate Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association
  • 2009 Poster Competition Finalist, Cardiac Electrophysiology Society Meeting
  • 2009 The Michel Mirowski International Fellowship in Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, Heart Rhythm Society


American Heart Association Beginning Grant-in-Aid award (2012-2014)

Publication (selected):

1. Chiang DY, Cuthbertson DW, Ruiz FR, Li N*, Pereira FA*. A coregulatory network of NR2F1 and microRNA-140. PloS ONE. In press. (*Correspondence)

2. Voigt N, Heijman J, Wang Q, Chiang DY, Li N, Karck M, Wehrens XH, Nattel S, Dobrev D. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Atrial Arrhythmogenesis in Patients With Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation. Circulation. 2013. Nov 18. [Epub ahead of print].

3. Purohit A, Rokita AG, Guan X, Chen B, Koval OM, Viogt N, Neef S, Sowa T, Gao Z, Luczak ED, Li N, El-Accaoui R, Yang B, Swaminathan PD, Weiss RM, Wehrens XH, Song LS, Dobrev D, Maier LS, Anderson ME. Oxidized CaMKII triggers atrial fibrillation. Circulation. Circulation. 2013; 128:1748-57.

4. Beavers D, Wang W, Ather S, Garbino A, Dixit S, Landstrom AP, Voigt N, Li N, Olivotto l, Dobrev D, Ackerman MJ, Wehrens XH. Destabilization of Ryanodine Receptor – Junctophilin-2 Interaction Causes Atrial Fibrillation. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013; 62:2010-9.

5. Ather S*, Respress JR*, Li N*, Wehrens XH. Alterations in Ryanodine Receptors and Related Proteins in Heart Failure. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1832:2425-31. (*Co-first Author)

6. Wehrens XH, Chiang DY, Li N. Chronic Exercise: A Contributing Factor to Atrial Fibrillation? J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013; 62:78-80.

7. Pereira L, Cheng H, Lao DH, Li N, van Oort RJ, Heller Brown J, Wehrens XH, Chen J, Bers DM. Epac2 Mediates Cardiac β1-Adrenergic Dependent SR Ca2+ Leak and Arrhythmia. Circulation. 2013; 127:913-22.

8. Ather S, Wang W, Wang Q, Li N, Anderson ME, Wehrens XH. Inhibition of CaMKII phosphorylation of RyR2 prevents inducible ventricular arrhythmias in mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Heart Rhythm. 2013; 10:592-9

9. Li N, Wehrens XH. Extinguishing intracellular calcium leak – a promising anti-arrhythmic approach. Heart Rhythm. 2013; 10:108-9

10. Degrande S, Nixon D, Koval O, Curran JW, Wright P, Wang Q, Kashef F, Chiang D, Li N, Wehrens XH, Anderson ME, Hund TJ, Mohler PJ. CaMKII inhibition rescues proarrhythmic phenotypes in the model of human ankyrin-B syndrome. Heart Rhythm. 2012; 9:2034-41.

11. Respress JL, van Oort RJ, Li N, Rolim N, Dixit S, Dixit S, De Almeida AC, Voigt N, Lawrence W, Skapura DG, Scardal K, Wisloff U, Wieland T, Ai X, Podwizd S, Dobrev D, Wehrens XH. Role of RyR2 Phosphorylation at S2814 during Heart Failure Progression. Circ Res. 2012; 110:1474-83.

12. Voigt N, Li N, Wang Q, Wei W, Trafford AW, Abu-Taha I, Sun Q, Wieland T, Ravens U, Nattel S, Wehrens XH, Dobrev D. Enhanced Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Ca2+-leak and Increased Na+-Ca2+-Exchanger Function Underlie Delayed Afterdepolarizations in Patients with Chronic Atrial Fibrillation. Circulation. 2012; 125:2059-70.

13. Li N, Wang T, Wang W, Culter MJ, Wang Q, Voigt N, Rosenbaum DS, Dobrev D, Wehrens XH. Inhibition of CaMKII Phosphorylation of RyR2 Prevents Induction of Atrial Fibrillation in FKBP12.6 Knockout Mice. Circ Res. 2012; 110:465-70.

14. Kirchhof P, Marijon E, Fabritz L, Li N, Wang W, Wang T, Schulte K, Hanstein J, Schulte JS, Vogel M, Mougenot N, Laakmann S, Fortmueller L, Eckstein J, Verheule S, Kaese S, Staab A, Grote-Wessels S, Schotten U, Moubarak G, Wehrens XH, Schmitz W, Hatem S, Müller FU. Overexpression of cAMP-response element modulator causes abnormal growth and development of the atrial myocardium resulting in a substrate for sustained atrial fibrillation in mice. Int J Cardiol. 2013; 166:366-74.

15. Cunha S, Hund T, Hashemi S, Voigt N, Li N, Wright P, Koval O, Li J, Gudmundsson H, Schott JJ, Probst V, Le Marec H, Anderson ME, Dobrev D, Wehrens XH, Mohler PJ. Defects in ankyrin-based pathways for Cav1.3 targeting underlie human atrial fibrillation. Circulation. 2011; 124:1212-22

16. Sarma S*, Li N*, van Oort RJ, Reynolds C, Skapura DG, Wehrens XH. Genetic inhibition of PKA phosphorylation of RyR2 prevents dystrophic cardiomyopathy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010; 107:13165-70 (*Equal contribution)

17. Li N & Wehrens XH. Programmed Electrical Stimulation in Mice. J Vis Exp. 2010; (39). pii: 1730. doi: 10.3791/1730.

18. Li N, Jia N, Dai DZ, Hu C, Dai Y. Role of endothelin in the effects of isoprenaline on potassium currents and calsequestrin 2 expression in the heart. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2010; 37:557-63.

19. van Oort RJ , Respress JL , Li N , Reynolds C, De Almeida AC, Skapura DG , De Windt LJ, Wehrens XH. Accelerated development of pressure overload-induced cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction in an RyR2-R176Q knockin mouse model. Hypertension. 2010; 55:932-8.

20. Mathur N, Sood S, Wang SF, van Oort RJ, Sarma S, Li N, Skapura DG, Bayle JH, Valderrábano M, Wehrens XH. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Mice With an Inherited Mutation in RyR2. Circ Arrhythmia Electrophysiol. 2009;2:677-85.

21. Chelu MG, Sarma S, Sood S, Wang S, van Oort RJ, Skapura DG, Li N, Santonastasi M, Müller FU, Schmitz W, Schotten U, Anderson ME, Valderrábano M, Dobrev D, Wehrens XH. Calmodulin kinase II-mediated sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ leak promotes atrial fibrillation in mice. J Clin Invest. 2009; 119:1940-51.