Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Xian Li M.D. Ph.D.

Xian C. Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Xian C. Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Full Member
Scientific Director, Center for Immunobiology
Director, Transplant Immunology Program
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute


E-mail: xcli@houstonmethodist.org
Phone: 713-441-2143


M.D.   Qingdao Medical School, Shandong, China
Ph.D.   University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada (Immunology)

Postdoctoral Training

Research Fellow, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA



Dr. Xian C. Li is the director of the transplant immunology program at the Methodist Hospital Research Institute.  Dr. Li served as deputy director of the Transplant Research Center at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School before joining Methodist.  Dr. Li completed his medical training in China before joining the transplant team at London Health Science Center and the University of Western Ontario in Canada to do his doctoral training in transplant immunology. He then joined the research team at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, serving on the faculty until 2012.

Dr. Xian C. Li’s lab studies the fundamental mechanisms of transplant rejection and transplant tolerance, the goal of his team is to re-educate patients’ immune system to accept organ transplants without taking life-long immunosuppressive drugs.

Dr. Li has published more than 100 original papers, review articles, and book chapters in high impact journals. He is routinely invited to speak and serves on leadership committees for national and international scientific meetings. He has received awards in recognition of his contribution to transplant immunology including the American Society of Transplantation Young Investigator Award, the American Society of Transplantation Wyeth Basic Science Investigator Award, and AST/Wyeth Achievement Award.

Dr. Li  is active in professional organizations and has served as a committee member for the basic science advisory council  and grants executive committee of the American Society of Transplantation, a standing member of the American Association of Immunologists and The Transplantation Society, a member of Faculty 1000 for Immunology. He is also an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Immunology, and is a standing member of the NIH Transplantation, Tolerance and Tumor Immunology study section. He serves on the editorial boards of Transplantation, Transplantation Research, and Cellular & Molecular Immunology.

Description of Research

Dr. Li’s research program seeks to identify new mechanisms and pathways that control immune activation and immune regulation. His team develops new therapeutic protocols that support transplant survival without life-long immunosuppression. His lab has identified several molecular pathways that are critical to the immune recognition of transplants.

Major Areas of Research

Transplant, immunology, regulatory cell function, allograft rejection, tolerance induction

Recent Publications

Xiao X, Balasubramanian S, Liu W, Chu X, Wang H, Taparowsky EJ, Fu YX, Choi Y, Walsh MC, Li XC. OX40 signaling favors the induction of T(H)9 cells and airway inflammation. Nat Immunol. 2012 Oct;13(10):981-90. PMID: 22842344

Li XC, Bromberg JS. Literature watch: Implications for transplantation. Mast cells: infammatory, immunoregulatory or something in between? Am J Transplant. 2012 Sep;12(9):2265. PMID: 22925181

Pomahac B, Becker YT, Cendales L, Ildstad ST, Li X, Schneeberger S, Siemionow M, Thomson AW, Zheng XX, Tullius SG. Vascularized composite allotransplantation research: the emerging field. Am J Transplant. 2012 Apr;12(4):1062-3. PMID: 22225551

Liu W, Xiao X, Demirci G, Madsen J, Li XC. Innate NK cells and macrophages recognize and reject allogeneic nonself in vivo via different mechanisms. J Immunol. 2012 Mar 15;188(6):2703-11. PMID: 22327074

Valujskikh A, Li XC. Memory T cells and their exhaustive differentiation in allograft tolerance and rejection. Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2012 Feb;17(1):15-9. PMID: 22186090

Li XC, Baldwin WM 3rd. NK cells: new partners in antibody-triggered chronic rejection. Am J Transplant. 2012 Feb;12(2):275-6. PMID: 22070640

Xiao X, Gong W, Demirci G, Liu W, Spoerl S, Chu X, Bishop DK, Turka LA, Li XC. New insights on OX40 in the control of T cell immunity and immune tolerance in vivo. J Immunol. 2012 Jan 15;188(2):892-901. PMID: 22147766

Chu X, Kilpatrick E, Xiao X, Liu W, Demirci G, Exley M, Li XC. Islet allograft tolerance in the absence of invariant natural killer T cells. Clin Immunol. 2011 Dec;141(3):268-72. PMID: 21996456 

Chen Song S, Zhong S, Xiang Y, Li JH, Guo H, Wang WY, Xiong YL, Li XC, Chen Shi S, Chen XP, Chen G. Complement inhibition enables renal allograft accommodation and long-term engraftment in presensitized nonhuman primates. Am J Transplant. 2011 Oct;11(10):2057-66. PMID: 21831160

Spoerl S, Li XC. Regulatory T cells and the quest for transplant tolerance. Discov Med. 2011 Jan;11(56):25-34. PMID: 21276408