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Xian Chang Li, MD, PhD

Max and Lillie Frosch Centennial Chair in Transplant Research, Immunobiology & Transplant Science Center
Professor of Transplant Immunology in Surgery, Academic Institute
Full Member, Research Institute
Director, Immunobiology & Transplant Science Center
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College


Dr. Xian C. Li is the director of the Immunobiology & Transplant Science Center at Houston Methodist 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 Houston 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.

Areas Of Expertise

Immunology Allograft rejection Transplant Regulatory cell function Tolerance induction
Education & Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Toronto
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard University
MD, Qingdao Medical School, Qingdao, China
Research Fellowship, University of Western Ontario
PhD, Western University, London, Canada

Volatile Organic Gases as Bioindicators for Transplant Rejection

Patent Number: US20150031582 A1, Jan 29 2015


Diversity and Emerging Roles of Enhancer RNA in Regulation of Gene Expression and Cell Fate
Arnold, PR, Wells, AD & Li, XC 2020, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, vol. 7, 377.

Delayed Implantation of Pumped Kidneys Decreases Renal Allograft Futility in Combined Liver-Kidney Transplantation
Lunsford, KE, Agopian, VG, Yi, SG, Nguyen, DTM, Graviss, EA, Harlander-Locke, MP, Saharia, A, Kaldas, FM, Mobley, CM, Zarrinpar, A, Hobeika, M, Veale, JL, Podder, H, Farmer, DG, Knight, RJ, Danovitch, GM, Gritsch, HA, Li, XC, Ghobrial, RM, Busuttil, RW & Gaber, AO 2019, Transplantation.

Identification of the E3 ligase TRIM29 as a critical checkpoint regulator of NK cell functions
Dou, Y, Xing, J, Kong, G, Wang, G, Lou, X, Xiao, X, Vivier, E, Li, XC & Zhang, Z 2019, Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), vol. 203, no. 4, pp. 873-880.

Biomarkers for Chronic Rejection: In Angiotensin Proteins We Trust?
Li, XC 2019, Transplantation, vol. 103, no. 6, pp. 1082-1083.

Transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of immune tolerance: roles of the NF-?B family members
Zhang, L, Xiao, X, Arnold, PR & Li, XC 2019, Cellular and Molecular Immunology.

Adaptive features of innate immune cells and their relevance to graft rejection
Wang, G, Kong, G & Li, XC 2019, Current opinion in organ transplantation.

T follicular helper and memory cell responses and the mTOR pathway in murine heart transplantation
Xie, A, Yan, H, Fu, J, He, A, Xiao, X, Li, XC & Chen, W 2019, Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Coinhibition of mTORC1/mTORC2 and RhoA /ROCK pathways prevents chronic rejection of rat cardiac allografts
Chen, W, Chen, W, Li, XC, Ghobrial, RM & Kloc, M 2018, Transplantation Reports, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 21-28.

OX40 Costimulation Inhibits Foxp3 Expression and Treg Induction via BATF3-Dependent and Independent Mechanisms
Zhang, X, Xiao, X, Lan, P, Li, J, Dou, Y, Chen, W, Ishii, N, Chen, S, Xia, B, Chen, K, Taparowsky, E & Li, XC 2018, Cell Reports, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 607-618.

TRIM29 negatively regulates the type I IFN production in response to RNA virus
Xing, J, Zhang, A, Minze, LJ, Li, XC & Zhang, Z 2018, Journal of Immunology, vol. 201, no. 1, pp. 183-192.

Liver transplantation for locally advanced intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma treated with neoadjuvant therapy: a prospective case-series
Lunsford, KE, Javle, M, Heyne, K, Shroff, RT, Abdel-Wahab, R, Gupta, N, Mobley, CM, Saharia, A, Victor, DW, Nguyen, DT, Graviss, EA, Kaseb, AO, McFadden, RS, Aloia, TA, Conrad, C, Li, XC, Monsour, HP, Gaber, AO, Vauthey, J-N, Ghobrial, RM & Methodist–MD Anderson Joint Cholangiocarcinoma Collaborative Committee (MMAJCCC) 2018, The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 337-348.

Dr. Terry B. Strom, Professor of Medicine and Surgery Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. USA A Retrospective of a Transplant Visionary, Innovator, and Dedicated Mentor
Li, XC 2018, Transplantation, vol. 102, no. 4, pp. 544-545.

The first case of ischemia-free organ transplantation in humans: A proof of concept
He, X, Guo, Z, Zhao, Q, Ju, W, Wang, D, Wu, L, Yang, L, Ji, F, Tang, Y, Zhang, Z, Huang, S, Wang, L, Zhu, Z, Liu, K, Zhu, Y, Gao, Y, Xiong, W, Han, M, Liao, B, Chen, M, Ma, Y, Zhu, X, Huang, W, Cai, C, Guan, X, Li, XC & Huang, J 2018, American Journal of Transplantation, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 737-744.

Role of the NF-kB family member RelB in regulation of Foxp3+ regulatory t cells in vivo
Li, J, Chen, S, Chen, W, Ye, Q, Dou, Y, Xiao, Y, Zhang, L, Minze, LJ, Li, XC & Xiao, X 2018, Journal of Immunology, vol. 200, no. 4, pp. 1325-1334.

Guidance of super-enhancers in regulation of IL-9 induction and airway inflammation
Xiao, X, Fan, Y, Li, J, Zhang, X, Lou, X, Dou, Y, Shi, X, Lan, P, Xiao, Y, Minze, L & Li, XC 2018, Journal of Experimental Medicine, vol. 215, no. 2, pp. 559-574.

What's hot, what's new: Report from the American Transplant Congress 2017
Cooper, M, Li, XC & Adams, AB 2018, American Journal of Transplantation, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 308-320.

Innate allorecognition by monocytic cells and its role in graft rejection
Lakkis, FG & Li, XC 2018, American Journal of Transplantation, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 289-292.

Inhibition of RhoA and mTORC2/Rictor by Fingolimod (FTY720) induces p21-activated kinase 1, PAK-1 and amplifies podosomes in mouse peritoneal macrophages
Chen, W, Ghobrial, RM, Li, XC & Kloc, M 2018, Immunobiology.

Ablation of interferon regulatory factor 4 in T cells induces “memory” of transplant tolerance that is irreversible by immune checkpoint blockade
Zhang, H, Wu, J, Zou, D, Xiao, X, Yan, H, Li, XC & Chen, W 2018, American Journal of Transplantation.

Screening RhoA/ROCK inhibitors for the ability to prevent chronic rejection of mouse cardiac allografts
Chen, W, Chen, S, Chen, W, Li, XC, Ghobrial, RM & Kloc, M 2018, Transplant Immunology.

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