Prof. Li Tian




Academic Degree(s)





Current Position

  • Research Professor in Neuroimmunology, Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tartu, Estonia;
  • Adjunct Professor, Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki, Finland


Professional Experience

  • Project leader & Academy of Finland Research Fellow, Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki, Finland


Education & Training

  • 2001, Ph.D. (Distinction), Faculty of Bioscience, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 1993, Bachelor of Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Collage of Medicine, Beijing Medical University (now Peking University Health Science Center), China



  • 2014, The Chinese Scholarship Council honor for supervisor of the   best overseas PhD thesis, Finland
  • 2014, The 10th Beijing municipal “HaiJv Overseas Talent Recruitment Program” award, Beijing, China (北京市海聚人才短期项目奖)
  • 2001, Alfthan Prize (Finnish Chemistry Society), Finland
  • 2001, Award for the best academic dissertation of the year, University of Helsinki Viikki Biocenter, Finland


Research Grants

  • 2018 – 2022    Estonian Research Council Top Scientist Mobilitas Plus Grant 2017 (No. MOBTT77): €900,000
  • 2017 – 2019    Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission (北京市科委首都临床特色研究重点项目No. Z171100001017021): Capital Clinical Characteristic Research key project on developing a multi-dimensional diagnostic tool for bipolar disorder, RMB ¥1,000,000
  • 2014 – 2016    Academy of Finland: research grant (No. 273108) and National Natural Science Foundation China (No. 81461130016) joint funding for systemic evaluation of cognitive plasticity of schizophrenic patients after music therapy €276,838 + RMB ¥1,000,000
  • 2011 – 2016    Academy of Finland: research fellow grant for work on neuroimmune crosstalk in CNS diseases: (No. 283085) €161,774, (No. 251340) €391,000, (No. 256107) €305,141
  • 2013 – 2018    European Union 7th FP_Health: multinational consortia research grant (No. 602919) for glial opioid receptor interface in analgesia €100,000 (


Committee & Membership

  • 2018 – present, Editorial Board member of Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience
  • 2017 – present, Scientific Advisory Board member of the Chinese Association of Science & Technology in Finland, (CASTF,
  • 2015, Co-guest editor for the special issue of the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry
  • 2014, Invited reviewer for ERA_NET NEURON7 call on neuroinflammatory diseases


Selected Publication

  • Piirainen S., Youssef A., Song C., Kalueff AV., Landreth G., Malm T., and Tian L.* (2017) Psychosocial stress on neuroinflammation and cognitive dysfunctions in Alzheimer’s disease: the emerging role of microglia? Neurosci. & Biobehav. Rev. 77:148-164. IF: 8.30
  • Li ZL., Khan MM., Kuja-Panula J., Guo DY., Chen ZJ., Lahesmaa R., Rauvala H., and Tian L.* (2017) AMIGO2 is involved in T cell functions and its deficiency in mice ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Brain Behav. Immun. 62:110-123. IF: 5.96
  • Li ZL.,Wei H., Piirainen S., Chen ZY., Kalso E., Pertovaara A., and Tian L.* (2016) Spinal versus brain microglial and macrophage activation traits determine the differential neuroinflammatory responses and analgesic effect of minocycline in chronic neuropathic pain. Brain Behav. Immun. 58: 107-117. IF: 5.87
  • Xiu MH.#, Tian L. #*, Chen S., Tan YL., Chen DC., Chen J., Yang FD., Licinio J., Kosten TR., Soares JC., and Zhang XY.* (2016) Contribution of IL-10 and its -592 A/C polymorphism to cognitive functions in first-episode drug-naive schizophrenia. Brain Behav. Immun. 57: 116-24. IF: 5.87
  • Okuneva O., Körber I., Li Z., Tian L., Joensuu T., Kopra O., and Lehesjoki AE. (2015) Abnormal microglial activation in the Cstb-/- mouse, a model for progressive myoclonus epilepsy, EPM1. Glia 63(3): 400-11. IF: 6.03
  • Li ZL., Ma L., Kulesskaya N., Voikar V., and Tian L.* (2014) Microglia are polarized to M1 type in high anxiety inbred mice in response to lipopolysaccharide challenge. Brain Behav. Immun. 38: 237-48. IF: 5.89
  • Ning L., Tian L., Smirnov S., Vihinen H., Llano O., Vick K., Davis RL., Rivera C., and Gahmberg CG. (2013) Interactions between ICAM-5 and 1 integrins regulate neuronal synapse formation. J. Cell Sci. 126: 77-89. IF: 5.33
  • Tian L.,* Ma L., Kaarela T., and Li ZL. (2012) Neuroimmune crosstalk in the central nervous system and its significance for neurological diseases. [Review] J. Neuroinflamm. 9: 155-159. IF: 4.35  
  • Tian L.,* Rauvala H., and Gahmberg CG. (2009) Regulation of CNS immune responses by neurons. [Review] Trends Immunol. 30 (2): 91-9. IF: 9.90
  • Tian L.,* Lappalainen J., Autero M., Häninen S., Rauvala H., and Gahmberg CG. (2008) Shedded neuronal ICAM-5 suppresses T cell activation. Blood 111(7): 3615-25. IF: 10.45