Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content
Ji                             Li

Ji Li PhD

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Assistant Professor

Specialty/Research Focus

Cardiovascular Disease; Oncology; Pathophysiology; Regulation of metabolism; Signal Transduction

 
top-left cornertop-right corner
Professional Summary:

My lab primarily seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms of coronary artery disease, the most common cause of age-related cardiovascular disease. I study the signaling mechanisms that underlie the reduced tolerance elderly patients’ hearts show to stress from restricted blood flow (ischemia) and the restoration of normal blood flow (reperfusion). My work aims to devise novel strategies to boost cardiac tolerance of these events in aged populations or prevent patients’ decline in resilience.

Closely tied to this work, my group explores the intrinsic relationship between diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Evidence suggests that adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) may protect the heart from ischemic injury and limit the development of cardiac myocyte hypertrophy. This enzyme is activated by hormones, cytokines, and certain drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes. My lab is investigating AMPK’s role in regulating myocardial glucose metabolism. AMPK binds to adenosine monophosphate (AMP), through which it moderates enzymatic activity, balancing cellular production and consumption of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). We want to elucidate the molecular mechanisms responsible for AMPK activation, identify novel downstream AMPK targets and develop therapeutic techniques that target the enzyme to prevent and treat myocardial ischemia, cardiac hypertrophy and diabetes.

AMPK also shows potential as a drug target for cancer treatment because it may work as an antioxidant, modulating the levels of reactive oxygen species in tumor cells. Building on our understanding of these processes, my group has demonstrated that natural antioxidants extracted from Chinese herbal medicines inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells via related processes. We currently aim to determine these substances’ signaling targets in tumor cells and to develop cancer therapies based on natural products from herbal medicines.

Education and Training:
  • Fellowship, Geriatrics and Cardiovascular Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine (2007)
  • Fellowship, Signaling Transduction, National Institute on Aging/NIH (2002)
  • Fellowship, Molecular Medicine, Sichuan University School of Medicine (2000)
  • PhD, Cell Biology, Lanzhou University (1998)
  • MS, Biophysics, Lanzhou University (1992)
  • BS, Biochemistry, Lanzhou University (1989)
Employment:
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University at Buffalo-SUNY, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (2009-present)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming (2008–2009)
  • Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Wyoming (2007–2009)
  • Associate Scientist, Cardiovascular Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine (2003–2007)
  • Instructor, Cancer Research Center, Xiamen University, China (1992–1995)
Awards and Honors:
  • Seed Award: University of Wyoming (2009)
  • Travel Award: University of Wyoming, College of Health Sciences (2009)
  • New Investigator Award: University of Wyoming (2009)
  • Fellow of American Heart Association (F.A.H.A) (2008)
  • Training Award: Experimental Aging Research/NIH, Seattle, WA (2008)
  • Research Award: Center for Cardio Res. & Alternative Medicine (C-CRAM) (2008)
  • Travel Award: 2006 AHA Scientific Sessions, Chicago, IL (2006)
  • NIH Fellow Award for Research Excellence (FARE) (2002)
  • The Excellent Paper Award: Cell Biology Society, China (2000)
  • The Excellent Paper Award: Hospital Pharmaceutical Society, China (1999)
  • The Scientific and Technical Progress Award, China (1998)

Research Expertise:
  • Molecular Pharmacology: Signaling transduction: AMP-activated protein kinase, mitogen-activated protein kinase, protein-protein interactions; Gene regulation: mRNA analysis, RT-PCR, ChIP assay, electromobility shift assay; Metabolism: Glucose uptake, glycolysis, glucose oxidation, fatty acid oxidation, fatty acid transport.
Research Centers:
  • Keck Center for Computational Biophysics
  • Diabetes-Endocrinology Center of Western New York
  • Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences
  • Center for Research in Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Center for Functional Assessment Research (CFAR)
UB 2020 Strategic Strengths:
  • Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics
Grants and Sponsored Research:
  • April 2011–March 2015
    Bioprocess for Cardiac Cell Generation from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
    NHLBI/NIH
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $328,908
  • May 2009–July 2014
    Wyoming IdeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence-Aging-associated Alterations in Signaling (reliquish due to change institute)
    National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)-INBRE
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $715,000
  • April 2010–March 2014
    Protease Activated Receptor-1 Signaling by Coagulation Proteases
    NHLBI/NIH
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    $341,273
  • January 2011–December 2013
    The Role of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor in Cardiac Functions of Type 1 Diabetic Mice
    American Diabetes Association (ADA)
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $345,000
  • January 2012–December 2012
    American Diabetes Association (ADA) Minority Internship
    ADA
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $3,000
  • July 2010–June 2012
    Activated Protein C Ameliorates Cardiac Injury during Ischemia/Reperfusion
    American Heart Association (AHA)
    Role: Consultant
    $44,000
  • July 2008–June 2012
    Heart Stress Signaling Pathways during Ischemia/Reperfusion
    American Heart Association (AHA)
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $308,000
  • January 2009–December 2011
    Graduate Assistantship (reliquish due to change institute)
    University of Wyoming Graduate School
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $40,000
  • April 2008–March 2010
    Regulation of Stress Signaling in the Senescent Heart
    National Institute on Aging/NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $147,000
  • November 2007–January 2010
    Euipment Support for Lab Setting up
    National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $61,000
  • January 2008–December 2009
    The Role of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) in Tumor Redifferentiation
    National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC)
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $25,000
  • May 2009–June 2009
    Glucose Transporters Regulated by the AMP-activated Protein Kinase
    University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $7,500
  • August 2008–June 2009
    Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor in the Heart
    National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $10,000
  • June 2008–May 2009
    Aging-associated Alterations in Cardiac Signaing during Ischemia
    National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $25,000
  • January 2006–December 2008
    Effects of Vitrous Cryopreservation on Cell Adhesion and Function of Tissue Engineered Tendon
    National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC)
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $25,000
  • July 2003–August 2007
    Regulation of Glucose Transport in the Ischemic Heart
    NHLBI/NIH
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $1,670,000
  • September 2002–August 2003
    Mouse Hepatocytes Model to Investigate Stress Response Mechanisms in Aging
    NIDDK/NIH
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $167,000
  • September 1993–August 1995
    The Mechanisms of Natural Antioxidants-induced Redifferentiation of Tumor Cells
    National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC)
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $10,000
See All (18 Total) >
Patents:
  • Induce Differentiation of Cancer Application of Isoliquiritigenin-induced differentiation of cancer
  • Inflammatory Disorders Methods for Treating Inflammatory Disorders
  • Inhibiting Tumor Migration Isoliquiritigenin is an anti-tumor agent for inhibiting tumor migration

Journal Articles:
See All (68 Total) >
Books and Book Chapters:
  • Li J. Reactive Oxygen Species in Cell Death and Differentiation, Free Radical Life Sciences (Zheng R Ed), Ho-Chi Book Publishing Company. 2013.
  • Li J. MIF in Cardiovascular Disease. The MIF Handbook (Bucala R Eds), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. 2012.
  • Li J. Cell Apoptosis, Medical Molecular Biology (Liu B and Chen J Eds), Perking Union Press. 2000.

Professional Memberships:
  • Councilor, Upstate New York Pharmacology Society (UNYPS, ASPET) (2012)
  • American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) (2010)
  • Chiense American Diabetes Association (CADA) (2009)
  • The Academy of Cardiovascular Research Excellence (ACRE) (2008)
  • The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) (2007)
  • American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2005)
  • American Heart Association and American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) (2003)
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) (2000)
Presentations:
  • "Glucose Transporter Regulation by Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor" 16th Scientific Meeting of the Chinese Diabetes Society, Chinese Diabetes Society (CDS) (2012)
  • "Sestrin2 Promotes LKB1-Mediated AMPK Activation in the Ischemic Heart" 2012 FASEB Science Research Conferences, FASEB, AMPK and Beyond: Biology, Disease Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities (2012)
  • "Optimizing Cardiac Function in Aging via a Novel Signaling Pathway" Invited Speaker, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (2012)
  • "Melatonin-Mediated Cardioprotective SIgnaling in Ischemic Heart" FASEB Summer Research Conference, FASEB, Cardiovascular (2011)
  • "Acute Rosiglitazone Treatment Activates Cardioprotective Signaling during Ischemia/Reperfusion in Non-diabetic Mice" 2010 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2010)
  • "Alterations in the Cardiac AMPK Signaling Pathways with Aging" , Edward A. Doisy Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Edward A. Doisy Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2010)
  • "Impaired Nucleocytoplasmic Shuttling and Activity of SIRT1 in the Senescent Heart in Response to Ischemic Stress" 2010 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA), BCVS (2010)
  • "Limiting Cardiac Ischemic Injury by Augmenting the MIF-AMPK Signaling Cascade with a Novel Class of MIF Receptor Agonists" 2010 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2010)
  • "The Cardioprotective Effect of Activated Protein C is Separate from its Anticoagulant Activity" 2010 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA), ATVB (2010)
  • "AMPK: A Novel Target for Ischemic Heart Disease" , Chongqing Medical University (2010)
  • "The Regulation of AMPK Signaling Pathway in the Ischemic Heart" , Shanxi Normal Unversity (2010)
  • "The Role of Energy Sensor, AMPK, during Myocardial Ischemia and Ischemic Stroke" , Department of Neurosurgery, University at Buffalo-SUNY, Department of Neurosurgery (2010)
  • "The Cardioprotection of Activated Protein C is Seperate from its Anticoagulant Activity" 8th Annual Scientific Sessions of Society for Heart and Vascular Metabolism (SHVM), Society for Heart and Vascular Metabolism (SHVM) (2010)
  • "Exercise Training Enhances Cardiac AMP-activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) Signaling to Both Physiological and Pathological Stress" 15th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), European College of Sport Science (ECSS) (2010)
  • "Impaired AMPK-mediated Glucose Transport and Ischemic Recovery in the Senescent Heart" 70th Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2010)
  • "Overnourished Obese Sheep in Pregnancy Alters Insulin Signaling Cascades and Cardiac Function in the Fetal Heart" 70th Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2010)
  • "Maternal Obesity and Fetal Health" , School of Medicine, Shihezi University (2010)
  • "Regulation of Signaling Pathways in the Heart" , School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University (2010)
  • "Activated Protein C Protects Heart against Ischemia Reperfusion Injury via Activating AMPK Signaling Pathway and Decreasing Inflammatory Response" 2009 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2009)
  • "Aging-associated Dysregulation of Glucose Transport in the Heart" 13th Scientific Sessions of Chinese Diabetes Society (CDS), Chinese Diabetes Society (CDS) (2009)
  • "Impairment of JNK-IRS-1 Signaling Cascades and Cardiac Function in Fetal Heart during Overnourished Obese Sheep Pregnancy" 2009 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2009)
  • "Impairment of JNK-IRS-1 Signaling Cascades and Cardiac Function in Fetal Heart during Overnourished Obese Sheep Pregnancy" 2009 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2009)
  • "Natural Antioxidant-isoliquiritigenin Protects Heart against Ischemia-reperfusion Injury via Activation of Cardioprotective Signaling Pathways" 2009 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2009)
  • "Role for Reduced MIF Secretion in Attenuated AMPK Activation and Ischemic Recovery in the Senescent Heart" 2009 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2009)
  • "The Role of Extracellular Signal-regulated Kinase in Cardioprotective Effect of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor" 2009 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2009)
  • "Impaired Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor (MIF)-AMPK Cascades and Ischemic Recovery in the Senescent Heart" , University at Buffalo-SUNY, Deivision of Cardiovascular Medicine (2009)
  • "Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor Deficiency Augments Cardiac Dysfunction in Type 1 Diabetic Murine Cardiomyocytes" 69th Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2009)
  • "Aging-Associated Reduction in Ischemic AMPK Activation" , the Whitaker Cardiovascular Center, Boston University School of Medicine, the Whitaker Cardiovascular Center (2009)
  • "Aging-associated Impairment in the Activation of AMP-activated Protein Kinase in the Ischemic Heart" 61st Annual Scientific Meeting of Gerontological Society of America (GSA), Gerontological Society of America (GSA) (2008)
  • "AMPK Mediates the Cardioprotection Effect of Urocortin during Ischemia" 2008 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2008)
  • "Toll-like Receptor 4-Deficiency Improves Ischemic Cardiomyocytes Contractile Dysfunction via Augmentation of AMPK Activation" 2008 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2008)
  • "AMP-activated Protein Kinase: A Novel Target for Protection against Ischemic Injury" , University of Arkansas School of Medicine (2008)
  • "MKP-1 and AMPK: Targets for Inflammatory and Ischemic Heart Disease" , University of Wyoming INBRE Retreat (2008)
  • "MAPK and AMPK: Critical Mediators of the Cellular Stress Response" , School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University (2008)
  • "MAPK and AMPK: Critical Mediators of the Cellular Stress Response" , Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences (SIBS), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (2008)
  • "MKP-1 and AMPK: Targets for Inflammatory and Ischemic Heart Diseases" , School of Pharmacy, Shihezi University (2008)
  • "Signaling Pathways in the Ischemic Hearts" Syposium of Chinese Cardiovascular Pharmacology Society, Chinese Cardiovascular Pharmacology Society (CCPS) (2008)
  • "The Signaling Mechanisms of the Cellular Stress Response" , Institute of Lanzhou Modern Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (2008)
  • "A Newly Synthetic Chromium Complex –chromium (D-phenylalanine)3 Stimulates Glucose Transport via Activation of AMP-activated Protein Kinase" 68th Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2008)
  • "Alterations in Cardiac MIF-AMPK Cascades in Response to Ischemic Stress with Aging" National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence (NISBRE), NIH, National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) (2008)
  • "AMP-activated Protein Kinase Mediates the Cardioprotective Effects of Urocortin via Augment Glucose Transport during Myocardial Ischemia" 68th Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2008)
  • "AMPK: Mediator of the Cardioprotective Effects of MIF and Urocortin" , Uniformed Service University (2008)
  • "Ischemia and AMPK Activator Phosphorylate the Cardiac Transcription Factor FOXO3" National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence (NISBRE), NIH, National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) (2008)
  • "Toll-like Receptor 4-deficiency Limits Ischemic Injury via Up-regulation of AMPK and Down-regulation of p38 MAPK" 68th Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2008)
  • "The Cellular Fuel Gauge-AMPK in the Heart" , Saint Louis University (2008)
  • "Regulation of AMP-activated Protein Kinase in the Ischemic Heart" , Department of Molecular Biology, University of Wyoming, Department of Molecular Biology (2008)
  • "AMPK and MAPK: Critical Mediators of the Cellular Stress Response" , School of Medicine, Sichuan University (2008)
  • "AMPK Mediates the Cardioprotective Effect of Urocortin during Ischemia" , Center for Cardiovascular Research and Alternative Medicine (C-CRAM) Symposium (2007)
  • "Urocortin Stimulates Glucose Uptake in the Hypoxic by Activation of PKCε-AMPK Pathway" 67th Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2007)
  • "Cardiac Urocortin Stimulates Hypoxic Glucose Uptake through Activation of AMP-activated Protein Kinase" 2006 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2006)
  • "Aging-related Impairment the Activation of AMP-activated Protein Kinase in the Ischemic Rat Heart" 66th Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2006)
  • "AMPK Activates p38 MAP Kinase by Increasing its Recruitment to TAB1 in the Ischemic Heart" 2005 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2005)
  • "AMP-activated Protein Kinase Activation of p38 MAP Kinase in the Ischemic Heart" 65th Scientific Sessions of American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2005)
  • "Regulation of Cardiac alpha- and gamma-AMPK Subunit Isoforms in the in vivo Ischemic Heart" 2004 Scientific Sessions of American Heart Association (AHA), American Heart Association (AHA) (2004)
  • "Transcriptional Induction of MKP-1 in Response to Stress is Associated with Histone H3 Phosphorylation/Acetylation" 2002 Experimental Biology, Federation of American Societies for Experimenal Biology (FASEB) (2002)
  • "Histone H3 Modification in Response to Epidermal Growth Factor and Arsenite Declines with Age in Primary Rat Hepatocytes" 2001 Experimental Biology, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) (2001)
See All (56 Total) >
Service Activities:
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Admissions; Member (2009)
  • School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Admissions Committee; Member (2009)
  • IGPBS Graduate Admission Committee; Committee Member (2009)
  • Undergraduate Education Committee; Committee Member (2009)
  • Assessment Committee; Committee Member (2008–2009)
  • Safety Committee; Committee Member (2008–2009)

Clinical Specialties:
Clinical Offices:
Insurance Accepted:

bottom-left cornerbottom-right corner

Contact Information

615 Biomedical Research Building (BRB)
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
3435 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: 716-829-5711
Fax: 716-829-2801
Email: jli23@buffalo.edu


Log in to Update Your Profile