About the Dean

As Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics (CoSM), Yi Li serves as the chief administrative and academic officer. The Dean is responsible for maintaining and developing excellence in both graduateand undergraduate programs, providing leadership in faculty recruitment, directing strategic planning processes, promoting diversity, and allocation of the budget.

Yi Li became dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Wright State University July 1, 2011. Li comes to Wright State from the University of Iowa (UI), where he served as the mathematics department chair since 2007. During that time, he was also a professor in Informatics and Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences.


Prior to his appointment as department chair, Li served as the UI director of the Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences program, associate chair/director of Graduate Studies and acting director of Undergraduate Studies. Li grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution—a time when intellectualism was discouraged and persecuted, and the country's university entrance exam was cancelled. The same year that Li graduated from high school—1977—the university entrance exam was reinstated. Li passed the exam, and was placed in a mathematics program at Xi'an Jiaotong University. Li decided to continue studying math in graduate school at the University of Minnesota. After receiving a PhD in 1988, he spent two years as a L.E. Dickson Instructor at the University of Chicago, then taught at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., before going to UI in 1996. While chair at Iowa, Li received two new GAANN grants from the Department of Education for minority graduate education.

Research Interests

Li studies nonlinear problems and their applications in physics, geometry, and biomedical research. He has worked on new ways to study the conformal scalar curvature equations in differential geometry and Matukuma's equation in astrophysics. While working on bioluminescence tomography, Li with G. Wang invented the computational optical biopsy modality. Li has also worked in the area of traveling fronts, a fundamental problem related in population dynamics, genetics, and flame propagation. In particular, he solved an open problem left by Berestycki and Nirenberg on the uniqueness and asymptotic behavior of such solutions for a semi-degenerated nonlinearity. He and his co-authors also settled another long-standing open problem on the stability of marginal speed traveling fronts for this semi-degenerated nonlinearity. His work has been published in more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, and supported by NSF and NIH.

Contact Debbie Corcoran, (937) 775-2611, deborah.corcoran@wright.edu, to schedule an appointment with Dean Li.

Dean's Message for Summer 2013 (PDF)