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Zheng Li, PhD

Associate Research Professor of Bioenergetics, Institute for Academic Medicine
Associate Research Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist
Weill Cornell Medical College

Research Lab


After graduating Magna cum Laude from her doctoral program at Fudan University, Dr. Li spent a year as a Research Specialist at Unilever. In 2004, she was awarded the NIH Fogarty International Fellowship and spent the next 3 years in PET imaging group at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering in Bethesda, MD. In 2006, she received the NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence. After joining Houston Methodist Research Institute, Dr. Li built the medicinal and radiochemistry laboratory focusing on molecular imaging probe development.   

Description of Research

Dr. Li’s research involves the development and validation of novel molecular imaging probes for better understanding and early diagnosis of cancer and neurodegenerative disease. She also has interests in designing and synthesis of new bioactive molecules based on biomechanistic rationale and structural optimization as the therapeutic agent for cancer and using nanotechnique for targeted drug delivery.

Areas Of Expertise

Radiochemistry Molecular imaging Targeted drug delivery Synthetic chemistry Molecular imaging and targeted therapy
Education & Training

PhD, Fudan University
Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health
BS, Northwestern University

A chloroquine-induced macrophage-preconditioning strategy for improved nanodelivery
Wolfram, J, Nizzero, S, Liu, H, Li, F, Zhang, G, Li, Z, Shen, H, Blanco, E & Ferrari, M 2017, Scientific Reports, vol 7, no. 1, pp. 13738. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-14221-2

Pet Imaging and its Application in Cardiovascular Diseases
Li, Z, Gupte, AA, Zhang, A & Hamilton, DJ 2017, Houston Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal, vol 13, no. 1, pp. 29-33. DOI: 10.14797/mdcj-13-1-29

An agent for optical imaging of TrkC-expressing, breast cancer
Kamkaew, A, Li, F, Li, Z & Burgess, K 2017, MedChemComm, vol 8, no. 10, pp. 1946-1952. DOI: 10.1039/c7md00328e

Prediction and Early Evaluation of Anticancer Therapy Response: From Imaging of Drug Efflux Pumps to Targeted Therapy Response
Menga, Q, Li, Z & Li, S 2016, Current Medicinal Chemistry, vol 23, no. 41, pp. 4625-4638. DOI: 10.2174

Structure-Based Design of Potent Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase Inhibitors with Promising in Vitro and in Vivo Antitumor Activities
Bai, J, Liao, C, Liu, Y, Qin, X, Chen, J, Qiu, Y, Qin, D, Li, Z, Tu, ZC & Jiang, S 2016, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol 59, no. 12, pp. 5766-5779. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00324

Discovery of Novel Class i Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors with Promising in Vitro and in Vivo Antitumor Activities
Yao, Y, Tu, Z, Liao, C, Wang, Z, Li, S, Yao, H, Li, Z & Jiang, S 2015, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol 58, no. 19, pp. 7672-7680. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.5b01044

Unprecedented reactions:: from epichlorohydrin to epoxyglycidyl substituted divinyl ether and its conversion into epoxyglycidyl propargyl ether
Yao, Y, Li, Z, Qiu, Y, Bai, J, Su, J, Zhang, D & Jiang, S 2015, Scientific Reports, vol 5, 14231. DOI: 10.1038/srep14231

An HDAC-Targeted Imaging Probe LBH589-Cy5.5 for Tumor Detection and Therapy Evaluation
Meng, Q, Liu, Z, Li, F, Ma, J, Wang, H, Huan, Y & Li, Z 2015, Molecular Pharmaceutics, vol 12, no. 7, pp. 2469-2476. DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.5b00167

One-step 18F labeling of non-peptidic bivalent integrin avß3 antagonist for cancer imaging
Wang, W, Liu, Z & Li, Z 2015, Bioconjugate Chemistry, vol 26, no. 1, pp. 24-28. DOI: 10.1021/bc500590f

An HDAC-Targeted Near-Infrared Probe LBH589-Cy5.5 for Tumor Detection and Therapy Evaluation
Li, Z 2015, Molecular Pharmacology, vol 12, no. 7, pp. 2469-76.

Design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of 1, 3-disubstituted-pyrazole derivatives as new class I and IIb histone deacetylase inhibitors
Yao, Y, Liao, C, Li, Z, Wang, Z, Sun, Q, Liu, C, Yang, Y, Tu, Z & Jiang, S 2014, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol 86, pp. 639-652. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.09.024

Specific and sensitive tumor imaging using biostable oligonucleotide aptamer probes
Zeng, Z, Parekh, P, Li, Z, Shi, Z-Z, Tung, C-H & Zu, Y 2014, Theranostics, vol 4, no. 9, pp. 945-52. DOI: 10.7150/thno.9246

Biological evaluation of new mimetics of annonaceous acetogenins: Alteration of right scaffold by click linkage with aromatic functionalities
Liu, Y, Xiao, Q, Liu, Y, Li, Z, Qiu, Y, Zhou, GB, Yao, ZJ & Jiang, S 2014, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol 78, pp. 248-258. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.03.062

Identification of novel bivalent mimetics of annonaceous acetogenins via a scaffold-hopping strategy
Liu, Y, Liu, Y, Li, Z, Zhou, GB, Yao, ZJ & Jiang, S 2014, Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, vol 24, no. 7, pp. 1650-1653. DOI: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2014.02.072

A tyrosine kinase inhibitor-based high-affinity PET radiopharmaceutical targets vascular endothelial growth factor receptor
Li, F, Jiang, S, Zu, Y, Lee, DY & Li, Z 2014, Journal of Nuclear Medicine, vol 55, no. 9, pp. 1525-1531. DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.114.138925

Molecular imaging in tracking tumor-specific Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTLs)
Liu, Z & Li, Z 2014, Theranostics, vol 4, no. 10, pp. 990-1001. DOI: 10.7150/thno.9268

Biological evaluation of 2-methylpyrimidine derivatives as active pan Bcr-Abl inhibitors
Zou, D, Qiu, Y, Tu, Z, Liao, C, Luo, J, Meng, Q, Yao, R, Li, Z & Jiang, S 2014, Science China Chemistry, vol 57, no. 6, pp. 823-832. DOI: 10.1007/s11426-013-5011-9

Specific binding of modified ZD6474 (Vandetanib) monomer and its dimer with VEGF receptor-2
Kim, YS, Li, F, Oneill, BE & Li, Z 2013, Bioconjugate Chemistry, vol 24, no. 11, pp. 1937-1944. DOI: 10.1021/bc400374t

Multivalency of non-peptide integrin avß3 antagonist slows tumor growth
Kim, YS, Li, F, Kong, R, Bai, Y, Li, KCP, Fan, Y, ONeill, BE & Li, Z 2013, Molecular Pharmaceutics, vol 10, no. 10, pp. 3603-3611. DOI: 10.1021/mp400096z

Novel 64Cu-labeled CUDC-101 for in vivo PET imaging of histone deacetylases
Meng, Q, Li, F, Jiang, S & Li, Z 2013, ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, vol 4, no. 9, pp. 858-862. DOI: 10.1021/ml400191z