Jacksonville, Florida




The laboratory of Zhaoyu Li, Ph.D., is interested in investigating genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of tissue-specific gene regulation during cancer progression, tissue development, and stem cell differentiation and related studies on cancer therapeutics.

Focus areas

Dr. Li's lab is performing a comparative genomics study of Foxa/ERα dual targets between liver cancer and breast cancer in mouse models using genomic and proteomic approaches, such as next-generation sequencing and mass spectrometry. The lab is also interested in translating the information obtained from its mouse studies into human cancers and testing target genes for therapeutics of both cancers.

Next-generation sequencing technology allows Dr. Li and his colleagues to reveal detailed chromatin structures in the whole genome, which provides novel scenarios of gene regulation compared to traditional approaches. They are also interested in identifying the genomic and epigenomic landscapes in regulating stem cell differentiation and their impact on cancer progression using genomic and bioinformatics approaches.

Significance to patient care

Cancer is one of the most desperate diseases due to the limited success of its treatment. However, nature already provides clues for curing cancer, especially for sexual hormone-related cancers, such as liver cancer and breast cancer.

Estrogen, the female dominating sexual hormone, shows opposite effects on the progression of liver cancer (preventing) and breast cancer (promoting), indicating that the information from one cancer may be used to cure the other cancer.

Therefore, the outcomes of Dr. Li's research will not only address fundamental questions in cancer biology but also benefit cancer diagnosis and therapeutics.

Professional highlights

  • Pathway to Independence Award, National Cancer Institute, 2012-2017
  • Scholar-in-Training Award, American Association for Cancer Research, 2012
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 2008-2010
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, 2008-2010
  • Ad Hoc Reviewer, American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, Bioscience Reports, Developmental Cell, Hepatology, BBA, and EMBO Journal, 2008-2011


See my publications


Administrative Appointment

  1. Senior Associate Consultant I-Research, Department of Cancer Biology

Academic Rank

  1. Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology


  1. Post Doctoral Researcher - Department of Genetics & Institute of Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, Supervisor: Dr. Klaus H. Kaestner School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
  2. Post Doctoral Fellowship - Mentor: Dr. Dennis E. Vance Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta
  3. Ph.D. - Biochemistry, Mentor: Dr. Dennis E. Vance Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta
  4. MS - Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mentor: Prof. Zhaochun Tsui Department of Biochemistry, Dalian Medical University
  5. BS - Biochemistry Liaoning University

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