Dr. Rong Li has been working in gene regulation and breast cancer biology for more than two decades. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley in molecular biology of DNA replication and transcriptional regulation. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, he expanded his research scope to include cell cycle regulation, DNA repair and DNA damage response. Since he became an independent investigator, first at the University of Virginia (1996-2006) and later at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (2007-2018), Dr. Li has led a productive research endeavor in several areas of breast cancer-related biomedical research.
Dr. Li currently is chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences. He is the Ross Professor of Basic Science Research. Dr. Li has published over 80 scientific papers, many in high-impact journals including Nature, Cell, Genes Dev, Cell Rep, Nat Commun, PNAS, and J Clin Invest. Dr. Li has served on several NIH study sections and currently is chair of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Tumor Microenvironment (TME) study section. Dr. Li's research has been continuously funded for more than two decades by NIH and other federal, state and private funding agencies.
One major focus in Dr. Li's research is the role of the breast cancer susceptibility gene product BRCA1 in tissue-specific tumor suppression. Another research topic in his lab involves transcriptional regulation by RNA polymerase II-pausing factors during normal tissue homeostasis and pathogenesis. A third active research area in Dr. Li's lab is the crosstalk among tumor, fat, and immune cells during cancer progression.