Lei is a Professor in Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2000. He worked as Associate Professor in Institute of Zoology (1996-2000). He completed his Post-doc from University of Michigan, and as a visiting professor in California Academy of Sciences and University of Washington, USA during 1998 - 2000. His research interests include bird taxonomy and evolution; molecular phylogeny and phylogeography; geographical distribution, endemism and biodiversity conservation; adaptive evolution by comparative genomics; and molecular epidemiology of wildlife diseases (avian influenza). Over 250 research papers or monographs have been published. He is a Vice-president of the International Ornithologists’ Union (IOU), and Associate editor in chief or associate editors for several international peer-reviewed journals, eg. Journal of Biogeography, Journal of Ornithology, Avian Research, Zoological Systematics, Current Zoology and etc.