Baylor College of Medicine

Cullen Building fisheye

Dr. Nuo Li named a Pew Charitable Trust Innovation Fund Investigator

Graciela Gutierrez


Houston, TX -
Media Component
Nuo Li, Ph.D.
Dr. Nuo Li, associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience

Dr. Nuo Li, associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and a McNair Scholar, has been selected to be a part of the 2023 class of Innovation Fund Investigators by the Pew Charitable Trust.

He was selected along with his collaborator Dr. Roozbeh Kiani, associate professor of neural science at New York University. They are among 12 scientists who are partnering on interdisciplinary research projects exploring key questions in human biology and disease, combining the researchers’ expertise in topics ranging from neuroscience and immunology to cancer biology. The goal is to help boost scientific discovery and improve human health.


Li and Kiani’s research both focus on brain function, specifically on learning and decision making. They will combine Kiani’s work on the computational principles of decision-making in primates with Li’s research on the neural circuits driving learning and memory in mice models. They plan to develop a framework to understand the biology behind decision-making by modeling neural responses to pinpoint when these animals change their minds. The researchers will then work to identify the parts of the brain and specific mechanisms that influence decision-making, as well as what other factors, such as memories or sensory input, might trigger a decision change.

Collaboration has been encouraged by the Pew Charitable Trust throughout its 40-year history, leading to the 2017 launch of the Innovation Fund. The award, which is supported by the Kathryn W. Davis Peace by Pieces Fund, was developed to support creative and cross-disciplinary partnerships among alumni of Pew’s three biomedical programs.

All scientists selected as this year’s Innovation Fund Investigators are alumni or advisors of Pew’s biomedical programs in the United States and Latin America. Li was selected as a Pew Scholar in 2018. He also has received several honors recognizing his research such as the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a 2017 Searle Scholar award, the 2020 McKnight Scholar Award from the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, the Simon’s Collaboration on the Global Brain, and the Michael E. DeBakey M.D. Award for Excellence in Research from Baylor College of Medicine.

Learn more about the other scientists named in the 2023 class of Innovation Fund Investigators.

Back to topback-to-top