Meet Dr. Yina Li

Dr. Li is a caring orthodontic specialist, committed to making the journey to your new smile as comfortable and fast as possible.

You know you'll get the best care because she's one of the most qualified orthodontists around. Check out our "Before & After Galleries" and what our patients say about their personalized orthodontic care in our office!

Professional Memberships

  • American Association of Orthodontists
  • American Board of Orthodontists
  • American Dental Association
  • Great Lakes Association of Orthodontists

Education and Experience

Dr. Li was born and raised in Beijing, China. She was the first child in her family to attend college, at the prestigious Peking University. Her love of learning propelled her to Vanderbilt University, where she completed a Ph.D. degree in Cell and Developmental Biology. Following her passion for science, Dr. Li conducted cutting-edge genetics research at Harvard University as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

To bring the scientific training from bench to chairside, Dr. Li pursued her second Doctorate degree in Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) at the University of Connecticut. She graduated first in her class and was inducted into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society for her academic achievement and outstanding patient care.

To focus primarily on the art and science of orthodontics, she then completed her orthodontic specialty residency at the University of North Carolina, one of the world’s best programs. Her passion for science, dental medicine, and orthodontics not only helped her publish in high-impact journals including Cell, Nature, and PNAS, but it has also recruited numerous awards.

Notably, her pioneering work on the autophagy pathway during orthodontic tooth movement was awarded the prestigious Thomas M. Graber Award of Special Merit by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).

In addition to being a rock star scientist, Dr. Li is committed to providing the highest excellence in personalized patient care and smile esthetics. This is why she undertook the rigorous examination process necessary to become board certified through the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO).

Besides private practice, Dr. Li is also devoted to teaching and serves as an adjunct faculty at the Department of Orthodontics/Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Li loves the challenges and rewards of working with each patient, treating everyone as family of her own! She and her team use the latest technology and continue to integrate emerging advances in orthodontics to provide the best orthodontic experience possible.

Outside of the Office

Aside from straightening teeth and creating smiles, Dr. Li is married to her college sweetheart, Wei, and they have two boys, Howei and Hopen. Her family has two fur babies, a LOVELY Shiba Inu named Hiro and a SWEET Pomeranian-Eskimo mix rescue dog named Ollie. In her spare time, Dr. Li enjoys veggie gardening, cooking, walking her dogs, traveling, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.

Dr. Li and her family really enjoy living in Ann Arbor for its rich culture and diversity. She looks forward to meeting you and making your or your child's orthodontic experience a great one!

li family photo 2022 June (cropped)

Honors & Awards

  • AAO Thomas M. Graber Award of Special Merit
  • AAO Charley Schultz Resident Scholar Award
  • Miriam Easterling Baker Fellowship, Dental Foundation of North Carolina
  • Jack and Renee Dunlevy Fellowship, Dental Foundation of North Carolina
  • UNC Graduate School Merit Scholarship
  • Induction to Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society
  • Excellence in Academic Achievement Award by Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity (for Attaining the Highest Academic Standing during Dental School)
  • James E. Kennedy Award, School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut
  • Dental Student Research Society Award, University of Connecticut
  • AADR Student Research Fellowship
  • Jacob and Ethel Greenberg Award, School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut
  • Best Presentation and First Place Graduate Student Oral Presentation for Annual Developmental Biology Southeast Regional Meeting


  • Laura Jacox, Na Tang, Yina Li et al. Orthodontic Loading Activates Cell-Specific Autophagy in A Force-Dependent Manner. AJODO (accepted, to be published in March 2022)
  • Yina Li, Laura Jacox, Shannon Coats et al. Roles of Autophagy in Orthodontic Tooth Movement. AJODO (2021)
  • Emily J. Poulin, Asim K Bera, .....Yina Li et al. Tissue-Specific Oncogenic Activity of KRAS A146T. Cancer Discov. (2019)
  • Yina Li, Laura Jacox, Shannyn Little et al. Orthodontic Tooth Movement: The Biology and Clinical Implications. Kaohsiung J Med Sci. (2018)
  • Emily J. Poulin, Anne E. Powell, Yang Wang Y, Yina Li et al. Using a new Lrig1 reporter mouse to assess differences between two Lrig1 antibodies in the intestine. SC Res. (2014)
  • Andrew J. Murphy, Yina Li, Joshua B. Pietsch et al. Mutational analysis of NOG in esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula patients. Pediatr Surgery Int. (2012)
  • Anne E. Powell, Yang Wang, Yina Li et al. The Pan-ErbB Negative Regulator Lrig1 Is an Intestinal S. Cell Marker that Functions as a Tumor Suppressor. Cell (2012)