Peng Li, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator
Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Mass General Research Institute
biomedical signal processing; cardiovascular function; circadian rhythms; cognitive aging; dementia; sleep Dr. Li's research has been focused on evaluating the relationship among sleep/circadian physiology, cardiovascular function, and cognitive aging. Trained as a biomedical engineer and computational physiologist, Dr. Li is also interested in nonlinear biomedical signal processing. For example, one of his early works is the development of distribution entropy and several of its variants to assess physiological complexity based on short-length signals. The new algorithm considers an integrated feature in the fluctuation patterns of the signal, which overcomes an important limitation of prior methods in the needs of sufficiently long data and allows a reliable assessment of complexity from short recordings.

Dr. Li’s research in the recent 8 years has contributed to the understanding of sleep and circadian disturbances as early-stage manifestations or risk factors of AD. For example, his research demonstrates simultaneous degradations in cognition and sleep/circadian rhythms with advanced age and clarifies a bidirectional relationship between cognitive decline and circadian degradation in older human participants. A highlight of his recent discoveries in this field is the link between altered daytime napping and risk for AD, which opens a new research avenue to understand behavioral rhythms or sleep behaviors in dementia etiology and to design potential interventional strategies through consolidating sleep behaviors or sleep hygiene for cognitive benefits.

Dr. Li’s research in the last 3 years has also been expanded to the study of physical and cognitive resilience in the context of sex/gender and racial minorities as well as people living with chronic inflammation burdens, who show a disproportionately higher burden of age-related comorbidities.
(617) 643-9514
Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
CNY-Building #149
149 13th Street
4th Floor/ 4.015 & 4.013
Charlestown, MA 02129-2000