Jiong Li, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicinal Chemistry
Faculty/Staff picture
  •   BioTech One, Suite 212, Room 227
  • School of Pharmacy - Dept of Medicinal Chemistry
    BioTech One, Suite 205
    800 E. Leigh St.
    Box 980540
    Richmond, VA 23298-0540
  •  (804) 828-5619


  • Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2002)
  • B.S., Botany (Lanzhou University, 1996)

Post-Graduate Training

  • Assistant Researcher - Cancer Research (University of California, Los Angeles, 2012)
  • Postdoc - Molecular Signaling (University of Michigan, 2007)

Professional Experience

  • (2012 - 2018) Research Assistant Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Research Interests

  • Dr. Li’s research focuses on understanding the oncogenic signaling pathways and developing novel strategies for the eradication of cancer. He has made significant contributions in the regulation of Wnt/beta-catenin pathway, a fundamental signaling that determines cell fate and promotes tumorigenesis. His work has been published in the high-impacted journals including Nature Cell Biology, Cell Stem Cell, Nature Communications, Molecular Therapy, Cell Reports, and Oncogene.
  • The current research focus in Dr. Li’s lab: 1. Targeting epigenetic control of cancer stem cells. 2. Novel Wnt/beta-catenin inhibitors for the treatment of colorectal cancer. 3. Molecular regulation of head and neck cancer development and metastasis. 4. Immunotherapy of head and neck cancer.


Recent Publications

  • Dong J, Li J*, Li Y, Ma Z, Yu Y, Wang, CY. (2021). Transcriptional Super-Enhancers Control Cancer Stemness and Metastasis Genes in Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Nature Communications. 12, 3974. (*Corresponding author)
  • Wang C, Li Y, Jia L, Kim JK, Li J, Deng P, Zhang W, Krebsbach PH, Wang CY. CD276 expression enables squamous cell carcinoma stem cells to evade immune surveillance. Cell Stem Cell. 2021 Apr 28;. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2021.04.011.
  • Zhang M, Hoyle RG, Ma Z, Sun B, Cai W, Cai H, Xie N, Zhang Y, Hou J, Liu X, Chen D, Kellogg GE, Harada H, Sun Y, Cheng W, Li J. FOSL1 promotes metastasis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma through super-enhancer-driven transcription program. Molecular Therapy. 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2021.03.024.
  • Wang Y, Hoyle RG, Xie N, Cai H, Zhang M, Ma Z, Xiong G, Xu X, Huang Z, Liu X, Li J*, Cheng W. A Super-Enhancer Driven by FOSL1 Controls miR-21-5p Expression in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Frontiers in Oncology. DOI: 10.3389/fonc.2021.656628 (*Corresponding author)
  • Hoyle RG, Wang H, Cen Y, Zhang Y, and Li J. (2021). IOX1 Suppresses Wnt Target Gene Transcription and Colorectal Cancer Tumorigenesis Through Inhibition of KDM3 Histone Demethylases. Molecular cancer therapeutics.
  • Deng P, Yuan Q, Cheng Y, Li, J, Liu Z, Liu, Y, Li, Y, Su T, Wang J, Salvo M.E, et al. (2021). Loss of KDM4B exacerbates bone-fat imbalance and mesenchymal stromal cell exhaustion in skeletal aging. Cell Stem Cell.
  • Zhuang Z, Yu P, Xie N, Wu Y, Liu H, Zhang M, Tao Y, Wang W, Yin H, Zou B, Hou J, Liu X, Li J*, Huang H, Cheng W. (2020). MicroRNA-204-5p is a tumor suppressor and potential therapeutic target in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Theranostics. 10(3):1433-53. PubMed PMID: 31938073; PMCID: PMC6956807. (*Corresponding author)
  • Wu M, Sheng L, Cheng M, Zhang H, Jiang Y, Lin S, Liang Y, Zhu F, Liu Z, Zhang Y, Zhang X, Gao Q, Chen D, Li J*, Li Y. (2019). Low doses of decitabine improve the chemotherapy efficacy against basal-like bladder cancer by targeting cancer stem cells. Oncogene. 38(27):5425-39. PubMed PMID: 30918330. (*Corresponding author)
  • Li J*, Yu B, Deng P, Cheng Y, Yu Y, Kevork K, Ramadoss S, Ding X, Li X, and Wang CY. (2017). KDM3 Epigenetically Controls Tumorigenic Potentials of Human Colorectal Cancer Stem Cells through Wnt/beta-catenin Signaling. Nature Communications. 8, 15146. (*Corresponding author)
  • Chen D, Wu M, Li Y, Chang I, Ekimyan M, Deng P, Yu B, Yu Y, Dong J, Li J, and Wang, CY. (2017). Targeting BMI1+ cancer stem cells overcomes chemoresistance and inhibits metastases in squamous cell carcinoma. Cell Stem Cell. 20, 621-634 e626.
  • Li, J., Chen, X., Ding, X., Cheng, Y., Zhao, B., Lai, Z.C., Al Hezaimi, K., Hakem, R., Guan, K.L., and Wang, C.Y. (2013). LATS2 suppresses oncogenic Wnt signaling by disrupting beta-catenin/BCL9 interaction. Cell reports. 5, 1650-1663.
  • Li J and Wang CY. (2008). TBL1-TBLR1 and beta-catenin recruit each other to Wnt target-gene promoter for transcription activation and oncogenesis. Nature cell biology. 10, 160-169.
  • Li J, Sutter C, Parker DS, Blauwkamp T, Fang M, and Cadigan KM. (2007). CBP/p300 are bimodal regulators of Wnt signaling. The EMBO journal. 26, 2284-2294.