James Li

Credentials: Ph.D.

Position title: Associate Professor

Email: james.li@wisc.edu

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James Li

Department of Psychology
Phone: 608-265-1091
Office (Waisman Center): Room 263
Office (Brogden): Room 321

I received my B.A. in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University in June 2007 and my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA in June 2013. I also completed my clinical internship at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in August 2013 and a two-year NIH T32 postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatric and statistical genetics at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (VIPBG) in June 2015.

My research integrates theories and methods in clinical science, quantitative psychology, genomics, and developmental psychopathology to better understand how individual differences in psychiatric outcomes arise as a function of our DNA and our environments. Studies in my lab are guided by my long-term goal of translating our knowledge on the interplay of genes and environments toward more effective and personalized mental health care. Although my research has broad applications that extend well beyond any single psychiatric outcome, I have largely focused my scholarly efforts on childhood ADHD and related externalizing disorders given my clinical interests. Studies in my lab have been guided by three core questions:

  1. How can we characterize genetic information in biologically meaningful ways and to enhance their utility for clinical predictions of psychiatric outcomes?
  2. How can genetic information elucidate psychosocial mechanisms for psychiatric outcomes?
  3. How do genes and environments interact in the development of psychiatric outcomes?

Answers to these questions can guide the development of new treatments and provide clinicians with the data to make more precise diagnoses and treatment recommendations in the era of personalized medicine (Marcon et al., 2018). Unfortunately, these gaps in our knowledge have only widened as more buzzworthy genetic discoveries for complex traits are disseminated without much consideration of important biological, developmental and/or environmental forces that also impact their expression.