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Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2016

Dr Li
Dr Xiang LI
Department of Chemistry


Dr Li received his BSc degree from Fudan University in 2003, and his PhD from the University of Hong Kong in 2008. After three years undertaking postdoctoral work at the Rockefeller University in New York, he joined HKU’s Department of Chemistry in 2011 as an Assistant Professor, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017.

Dr Li’s research is at the interface of chemistry and biology. He develops novel chemical approaches to address key questions in epigenetics, a research area linking multiple hereditary and environmental impacts on our health. His most important contribution to this research field is the development of a variety of new and robust chemical tools and methodologies to unravel how any modification of histones, the chief protein components of the genome, affects gene activity and expression in normal physiology and disease pathogenesis. The findings from Dr Li’s research should ultimately improve our understanding of human diseases (e.g. cancer) linked to errors in epigenetic processes and may lead to the design of new and improved therapeutic strategies.

The complexity and exquisiteness of life fascinate Dr Li. His original training as an organic chemist has provided him unique angles to view and solve puzzles in biology. He believes that a scientist should not be bound by his / her current knowledge and previous experience, but always be ready to take new challenges to explore an unfamiliar field.