Skip to main content
Start main content

Strategic Moves, Quick Facts and Achievements


Research Output Prize 2019

“Good scientists should not be bound by their current knowledge and previous experiences, but always be ready to take new challenges to explore an unfamiliar field.”
Prof David Li

Professor Xiang David LI
Professor, Research Division for Chemistry and Department of Chemistry

Being fascinated by the complexity and exquisiteness of life, Professor Xiang David LI, who was originally trained as an organic chemist, has been dedicated to view and solve puzzles in biology with unique chemistry angles. His recent work with his collaborators was awarded the Faculty Research Output Prize 2018-19 with the journal paper entitled “Structure-guided development of YEATS domain inhibitors by targeting π-π-π stacking*”.

Professor 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 Professor in 2020.

Professor 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 Professor 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 journal was published in Nature Chemical Biology, 2018, Vol. 14, pp. 1140-1149, by Xin Li, Xiao-Meng Li, Yixiang Jiang, Zheng Liu, Yiwen Cui, Ka Yi Fung, Stan H. E. van der Beelen, Gaofei Tian, Liling Wan, Xiaobing Shi,  C. David Allis, Haitao Li, Yuanyuan Li, Xiang David Li. 

To know more about Professor Li's research, please click here.