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Xian Chang Li, MD, PhD

Professor of Transplant Immunology in Surgery, Institute for Academic Medicine
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


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 & hepatology. DOI: 10.1016/S2468-1253(18)30045-1

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. DOI: 10.1111/ajt.14583

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. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1701310

Ablation of Transcription Factor IRF4 Promotes Transplant Acceptance by Driving Allogenic CD4+ T Cell Dysfunction
Wu, J, Zhang, H, Shi, X, Xiao, X, Fan, Y, Minze, LJ, Wang, J, Ghobrial, RM, Xia, J, Sciammas, R, Li, XC & Chen, W 2017, Immunity. DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2017.11.003

Macrophage subpopulations and their impact on chronic allograft rejection versus graft acceptance in a mouse heart transplant model
Zhao, Y, Chen, S, Lan, P, Wu, C, Dou, Y, Xiao, X, Zhang, Z, Minze, L, He, X, Chen, W & Li, XC 2017, American Journal of Transplantation. DOI: 10.1111/ajt.14543

Longitudinal assessment of T cell inhibitory receptors in liver transplant recipients and their association with posttransplant infections
Mysore, KR, Ghobrial, RM, Kannanganat, S, Minze, LJ, Graviss, EA, Nguyen, DT, Perez, KK & Li, XC 2017, American Journal of Transplantation. DOI: 10.1111/ajt.14546

TRIM29 promotes DNA virus infections by inhibiting innate immune response
Xing, J, Zhang, A, Zhang, H, Wang, J, Li, XC, Zeng, M-S & Zhang, Z 2017, Nature Communications, vol 8, no. 1, 945. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00101-w

A20 Restrains Thymic Regulatory T Cell Development
Fischer, JC, Otten, V, Kober, M, Drees, C, Rosenbaum, M, Schmickl, M, Heidegger, S, Beyaert, R, van Loo, G, Li, XC, Peschel, C, Schmidt-Supprian, M, Haas, T, Spoerl, S & Poeck, H 2017, Journal of Immunology, vol 199, no. 7, pp. 2356-2365. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1602102

Leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptors in human diseases: An overview of their distribution, function, and potential application for immunotherapies
Zhang, J, Mai, S, Chen, H-M, Kang, K, Li, XC, Chen, SH & Pan, PY 2017, Journal of Leukocyte Biology, vol 102, no. 2, pp. 351-360. DOI: 10.1189/jlb.5MR1216-534R

Adipocyte adaptive immunity mediates diet-induced adipose inflammation and insulin resistance by decreasing adipose Treg cells
Deng, T, Liu, J, Deng, Y, Minze, LJ, Xiao, X, Wright, V, Yu, R, Li, XC, Blaszczak, A, Bergin, S, DiSilvestro, D, Judd, R, Bradley, D, Caligiuri, M, Lyon, CJ & Hsueh, WA 2017, Nature Communications, vol 8, 15725. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15725

Age-Dependent Metabolic and Immunosuppressive Effects of Tacrolimus
Krenzien, F, Quante, M, Heinbokel, T, Seyda, M, Minami, K, Uehara, H, Biefer, HRC, Schuitenmaker, JM, Gabardi, S, Splith, K, Schmelzle, M, Petrides, AK, Azuma, H, Pratschke, J, Li, XC, ElKhal, A & Tullius, SG 2017, American Journal of Transplantation, vol 17, no. 5, pp. 1242-1254. DOI: 10.1111/ajt.14087

Macrophages and RhoA Pathway in Transplanted Organs
Liu, Y, Kubiak, JZ, Li, XC, Ghobrial, RM & Kloc, M 2017, . in Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation. vol. 62, Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation, vol. 62, Springer-Verlag, pp. 365-376. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-54090-0_15

TNF superfamily receptor OX40 triggers invariant NKT cell pyroptosis and liver injury
Lan, P, Fan, Y, Zhao, Y, Lou, X, Monsour, HP, Zhang, X, Choi, Y, Dou, Y, Ishii, N, Ghobrial, RM, Xiao, X & Li, XC 2017, The Journal of clinical investigation. DOI: 10.1172/JCI91075

Modulation of innate immune cells to create transplant tolerance
Zhao, Y, Lan, P & Li, XC 2017, . in B Corradetti (ed.), Immune response to implanted materials and devices. Springer International Publishing, pp. 125-150.

Macrophages as effector cells in acute and chronic rejection.
Liu, Y, Kloc, M & Li, XC 2016, Topical Collection on Immunology, no. 4, vol. 3, vol. 3, Springer International Publishing. DOI: 10.1007/s40472-016-0130-9

Identification of a role for TRIM29 in the control of innate immunity in the respiratory tract
Xing, J, Weng, L, Yuan, B, Wang, Z, Jia, L, Jin, R, Lu, H, Li, XC, Liu, Y-J & Zhang, Z 2016, Nature Immunology, vol 17, no. 12, pp. 1373-1380. DOI: 10.1038/ni.3580

Corrigendum: Identification of a role for TRIM29 in the control of innate immunity in the respiratory tract
Xing, J, Weng, L, Yuan, B, Wang, Z, Jia, L, Jin, R, Lu, H, Li, XC, Liu, Y-J & Zhang, Z 2016, Nature Immunology, vol 17, no. 12, pp. 1479. DOI: 10.1038/ni1216-1479a

Dissonant response of M0/M2 and M1 bone-marrow-derived macrophages to RhoA pathway interference
Liu, Y, Chen, W, Minze, LJ, Kubiak, JZ, Li, XC, Ghobrial, RM & Kloc, M 2016, Cell and Tissue Research, pp. 1-14. DOI: 10.1007/s00441-016-2491-x

Graft-Infiltrating Macrophages Adopt an M2 Phenotype and Are Inhibited by Purinergic Receptor P2X7 Antagonist in Chronic Rejection
Wu, C, Zhao, Y, Xiao, X, Fan, Y, Kloc, M, Liu, W, Ghobrial, RM, Lan, P, He, X & Li, XC 2016, American Journal of Transplantation, vol 16, no. 9, pp. 2563-2573. DOI: 10.1111/ajt.13808

The Costimulatory Receptor OX40 Inhibits Interleukin-17 Expression through Activation of Repressive Chromatin Remodeling Pathways
Xiao, X, Shi, X, Fan, Y, Wu, C, Zhang, X, Minze, L, Liu, W, Ghobrial, RM, Lan, P & Li, XC 2016, Immunity, vol 44, no. 6, pp. 1271-1283. DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2016.05.013