Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center - Houston, TX

Transplant immune therapy expert joins Methodist faculty


HOUSTON -- ( Jan. 14, 2013 ) -- Xian Li, M.D., Ph.D., a renowned expert on therapies that coax the body's acceptance of donor organs, has joined the Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center as its new director of transplant immunology. Li is also scientific director of the Center for Immunobiology Research.

Li will oversee scientific research at Methodist's transplant center, joins Methodist after 16 years with the Harvard Medical School, where he was deputy director of the Transplantation Research Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital Boston, and was a Harvard associate professor of medicine.

"There are three areas I'd really like to move forward at Methodist," Li said. "I want to help our group understand fundamental mechanisms of immune system function so we have real targets for drugs and immunotherapy protocols. I want to help our researchers and our clinicians collaborate so that we can more quickly bring discoveries and new technologies to our patients.”

Li is an active researcher himself, and has authored or coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and review articles. His projects have generally focused on identifying new mechanisms and pathways that control immune activation and immune regulation, and developing new therapeutic protocols that establish transplant survival without life-long immunosuppression.

His laboratory at Harvard identified several pathways that Li says are critical to the body's recognition of transplants.

"In animal models we have seen outstanding outcomes by blocking those pathways," Li said. "The next challenge for my group is moving this research first to pre-clinical models and then the clinical patient population.

"I expect to work with doctors Osama Gaber, and Mark Ghobrial at Methodist, who are both doing really great work," Li continued. "And I will look for as many other opportunities for collaboration at The Methodist Research Institute. I believe that TMHRI, under the leadership of Mauro Ferrari, has achieved excellence in many areas such as nanotechnology, neurosciences and cancer research. I look forward to expanding such efforts in the Houston community as well as nationally and internationally."

A widely recognized investigator, Li has been invited to give 75 lectures on his research, and has received numerous awards and honors for his academic work from the American Society of Transplantation and the National Kidney Foundation, among others.

Li received his M.D. from Qingdao Medical School in Shandong, China, and his Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, an honorary society, and he is the recipient of AST/Wyeth Achievement Award from the American Society of Transplantation. He was also named an Honorary Professor at University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China. He is the principal investigator for two NIH grants and is the co- principal investigator of another, both studying immune responses to transplanted organs.

To speak with Xian Li, please contact David Bricker, The Methodist Hospital System, at 832-667-5811 or dmbricker@houstonmethodist.org.