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Teaching Staff

Professor LI, Philip Yong Xin

Professor LI, Philip Yong Xin

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, HKU

B.Sc. (Peking University); Ph.D. (HKUST)

  • 3910 2196
  • Room 305 Chong Yuet Ming Chemistry Building, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong

Research Interest


The microbiome produces diverse natural products such as signal molecules and antibiotics that mediate communication and competition, are the vast unexplored source for drug discovery. In the post-genomics era, there are an exponential growth in sequenced microbial (Meta)genomes. Our lab aims to establish a genomics-guided discovery approach for targeted discovery of natural product with chemical novelty and biological importance, by the combined use of big data genome mining, metabolomics, and chemical biology. To convert this untapped genetic potential into chemical reality, we adopt novel synthetic biology strategies to activate the silent biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that represent more than 90% of total BGCs. Applying our approaches to the ocean and human microbiota, we want to harness the chemical potential of the microbiome to enhance the reservoir of potentially therapeutic small molecules.






10. Zhang, W., Ding, W., Li, Y. X., Tam, C., Bougouffa, S., Wang, R., ... & Sun, J. Marine biofilms constitute a bank of hidden microbial diversity and functional potential. Nat. Commun., 2019, 10(1), 517.

9. Li YX#, Zhong Z#, Zhang W, Qian PY. Discovery of cationic nonribosomal peptides as Gram-negative antibiotics through global genome mining. Nat. Commun., 2018,9(1): 3273.

8. Li YX, Zhong Z, Hou P, Zhang W, Qian PY. Resistance to nonribosomal peptide antibiotics mediated by D-stereospecific peptidases. Nat. Chem. Biol., 2018, 14(4), 381-385.

7. Li Z, Li J, Gu JP, Lai JYH, Duggan BM, Zhang WP, Li ZL, LiYX, RB Tong, Moore B, & Qian PY, Discovery of precolibactin-886, the missing aminomalonate-containing member of the genotoxin colibactin family. Nat. Chem. Biol., 2016 12(10): 773–775.

6. Li YX, Li Z, Yamanaka K, Xu Y, Zhang W, Vlamakis H, Kolter R, Moore BS, Qian PY. Directed natural product biosynthesis gene cluster capture and expression in the model bacterium Bacillus subtilis. Sci. Rep., 2015, 5:9383.

5. Li YX#, Wu HX#, Xu Y, Shao CL, Wang CY, Qian PY. Antifouling activity of secondary metabolites isolated from Chinese marine organisms. Mar. Biotechnol., 2013, 15(5):552-558.

4. Li YX, Xu Y, Liu L, Han Z, Lai PY, Guo X, Zhang X, Lin W, Qian PY. Five new amicoumacins isolated from a marine-derived bacterium Bacillus subtilis. Mar. drugs, 2012, 10(2):319-28.7.

3. Li YX, Zhang F, Xu Y, Matsumura K, Han Z, Liu L, Lin W, Jia Y, Qian PY. Structural optimization and evaluation of butenolides as potent antifouling agents: modification of the side chain affects the biological activities of compounds. Biofouling, 2012, 28(8):857-64.

2. Li YX, Yu S, Liu D, Proksch P, Lin W. Inhibitory effects of polyphenols toward HCV from the mangrove plant Excoecaria agallocha L. Bioorg. & Med. Chem. Lett., 2012, 22(2):1099-102.

1. Li YX, Liu J, Yu S, Proksch P, Gu J, Lin W. TNF-α inhibitory diterpenoids from the Chinese mangrove plant Excoecaria agallocha L. Phytochemistry, 2010, 71:2124-31.