Li, Wei Ph.D.

Director of UTCoP Drug Discovery Center
Faculty Director of Shared Instrument Facility

MEMPHIS TN 381632198
Tel: (901) 448-7532


  • Ph.D., Columbia University in the City of New York (1994-1999), Chemistry
  • MS candidate, Dalian Inst Chem Phys, Chinese Academy of Sciences (1992-1994), Chemical Physics
  • B.S., University of Science & Technology of China (1987-1992), Chemical Physics

Group News (from August 11 2017)

2019 Jan-June

April 26, our invited review paper written by Najah and Shanshan titled "The Transcriptional Factors HIF-1 and HIF-2 and Their Novel Inhibitors in Cancer Therapy", is accepted in Expert Opinion On Drug Discovery. Congratulations to Najah and Shanshan for a great work well done. 

April 21, Kinsie''s paper titled "Colchicine binding site agent DJ95 overcomes drug resistance and exhibits antitumor efficacy" is accepted in Molecular Pharmacology

April 15, Dr. Li co-authors a paper with Dr. Slominski on a paper entitled "Protective effects of novel derivatives of vitamin D3 and lumisterol against UVB-induced damage in human keratinocytes involve activation of Nrf2 and p53 defense mechanisms", is accepted for publication in Redox Biology

April 10, our collaborative paper with Dr. Mahato''s lab at UNMC, with Ruinan Yang (Mahato lab) and Hao Chen (Li lab) as co-first authors, titled "Polymeric Micellar Delivery of Novel Microtubule Destabilizer and Hedgehog Sgnaling Inhibitor for Treating Chemoresistant Prostate Cancer", is accepted in J. Pharm. Exp. Ther. Congratulations to Hao. 

March 31, Dr. Hongmei Cui, a postdoc in our lab, will start as a Full Professor in Lanzhou University in China. Congratulations to Hongmei and we wish her continued success in her career development. 

January 19, Kinsie and Souvik (Dr. Miller''s lab) published a review paper entitled "Current advances of tubulin inhibitors as dual acting small molecules for cancer therapy" in Med. Res. Rev. (IF=8.29 in 2017/2018). Hao and Shanshan also made significant contributioins to this comprehensive reveiw paper.

2018 July-Dec

December 25, as an editorial member, Dr. Li co-authored an Editorial titled "Breakthroughs in Medicinal Chemistry: New Targets and Mechanisms, New Drugs, New Hopes–4", published in Molecules.

December 18, Kinsie is the receipient of the 2018 UTHSC College of Pharmacy Outstanding Graduate Student Award, awarded annually to one graduate student in the collegeCongratulations to Kinsie for this well-deserved award.  

December 14, Our collaborative paper with Dr. Chauhan''s group, titled "Therapeutic efficacy of a novel βIII/βIV-tubulin inhibitor (VERU-111) in pancreatic cancer", is accepted in Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research (2017 IF 6.22). Qinghui synthesized VERU-111 for the study. Congratulate to Qinghui and all co-authors.  

December 4, At the 2018 UTRF patent celebration ceremony, Dr. Li received plaques for the four recently issued US patents (US 10,022,356 B2; US 9,981,915 B2; US 9,447,049 B2; US 9,334,242 B2) on the tubulin project.  

November 20, Kinsie successfully defended her thesis, and completed her PhD requirements. She is now Dr. Arnst who will move on with her career in UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, starting from 2019.  

September 9, Our collaborative paper with Dr. Yue''s group,  "miR-203 inhibits ovarian tumor metastasis by targeting BIRC5 and attenuating the TGFβ pathway", is accepted in Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research (2017 IF 6.22). 

August 19, Qinghui and Kinsie''s paper "Structural modification of the 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl moiety in the tubulin inhibitor VERU-111 leads to improved antiproliferative activities", is accepted in J. Med. Chem. (2016 IF 6.26). Congratulations to Qinghui, Kinsie, Hao, Jim, and all co-authors.  

2018 Jan-June

June 25, Georgina''s 2015 paper (2015, Vol 5: 378-389), published in Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, titled "HIF-1a pathway: role, regulation and intervention for cancer therapy", has been cited for 268 times as of 6/25/2017, and is awarded the "2017 Outstanding Paper Award" by the journal (2017 IF=6.01). 

May 24, Kinsie received the 2018 Robert A. Magarian outstanding podium presentation award at the 2018 MALTO meeting. Congratulations to Kinsie. This also marks the third consecutive year (2018: Kinsie; 2017: Zongtao; 2016: Qinghui), and the fourth accumulative year (2013, Min), where a member from the Li lab win this competitive award.  

April 30, a collaborative paper with Dr. Zhaohui Wu''s group, titled "Survivin inhibitors mitigate chemotherapeutic resistance in breast cancer cells by suppressing genotoxic NF-kappaB activation", is accepted for publication in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Jim synthesized the survivin inhibitor. Congratulations to Jim and all authors in this paper. 

April 12, Brandon''s review paper, titled "Taxane Resistance in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies", is accepted for publication in Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, congratulatioins to Brandon. 

March 26, the Li lab welcomes Dr. Foyez Mahmud as a new postdoctoral researcher. Foyez will be working on the biological aspects of various projects. Welcome, Foyez.

March 16, a collaborative R61 NIH grant (PI: Dr. Darryl Quarles, UTHSC College of Medicine) in which Dr. Li is a co-I is awarded today, with a starting date of 4/1/2018. The Li lab contribution is by Hao, who synthesized and proposed modifications to generate novel polycystines/TAZ inhibitors. We are looking forward to working with Dr. Quarles'' lab and other collaborators on this project. 

March 5,  a collaborative paper with Dr. Junming Yue''s group, titled "Knockdown of survivin results in inhibition of epithelial to mesenchymal transition in retinal pigment epithelial cells by attenuating the TGF pathway", is accepted in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, on March 5th, 2018.  

Febrary 13, Qinghui''s paper with Kinsie and Yi Xue, titled "Synthesis and biological evaluation of indole-based UC-112 analogs as potent and selective survivin inhibitors", is accepted in European J. Med. Chem. (IF=4.52).  Congratulations to Qinghui, Kinise, Yi, and our collaborators. 

Febrary 12, our collaborative paper with Dr. Rob Tuckey in Australia, titled "CYP27A1 acts on the pre-vitamin D3 photoproduct, lumisterol, producing biologically active hydroxy-metabolites”, is accepted in J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. (IF=4.56). Congratulations to Dejian for contributing to this paper. 

Febrary 1, Dr. Hongmei Cui (Ph.D. Fudan University, China) joined the Li lab as a postdoctoral researcher in the cancer biology area on Feb 1. Welcome Dr. Cui. 

January 30, Kinsie''s co-first author paper with Souvik (Dr. Miller''s lab) and Yuxi (Sichuan University) entitled "Heterocyclic-Fused Pyrimidines as Novel Tubulin Polymerization Inhibitors Targeting the Colchicine Binding Site: Structural Basis and Anti-Tumor Efficacy" is accepted in J Med Chem. (IF=6.26). Congratulations to Souvik, Kinsie, Yuxi, and all the co-authors. 

January 11, the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) funded a joint grant application of Dr. Monica Jablonski (PI, UT College of Medicine) and Dr. Li (Co-I), with the title of "Extended Release IOP-Lowering Formulation". Hao in the Li lab will be synthesizing a more potent IOP lowering compound for this project. 


December 22, Zongtao''s paper entitled "Invetigation of 20S-hydroxylvitamin D3 analogs and their 1a-OH derivatives as potent vitamin D receptor agonists with anti-inflammatory activities" is accepted by Scientific Reports (IF=4.26). This marks the perfect completion of Zongtao''s tenure at UTHSC for publishing all his work in the PhD study, and we wish Dr. Lin the continued success at U. Penn.  

December 19, The Li lab is one of the four receipients of the 2018 West Cancer Center Research Award grant. This work is based on the Shanshan''s work in breast cancer in collaboration with Dr. Tiffany Seagroves'' lab.  

December 1, Kinsie passed her PhD candidancy written and oral exams and formally entered the PhD program. Congratulations to Kinsie.

November 1, Kinsie''s paper on DJ101 as a new generation of tubulin inhibitor is accepted in Cancer Research (IF=9.3). Congratulations to Kinsie, Dong-Jin from Dr. Miller''s lab and all of our collaborators for this big accomplishment! 

October 17, Hao made contributions to the project led by our collaborator, Dr. Darryl Quarles in UTHSC College of Medicine, and co-authored a paper accepted today in Journal of Clinical Investigation (IF=12.8). Congratulations to Hao as a co-author on this high impact paper.    

September 19, Qinghui''s paper in collaboration with Dr. Yue''s lab on the role of survivin in ovairan cancer is accepted in Oncotarget, (IF=5.17). Congratulations to Qinghui who is now enjoying the new life at NYC. 

August 16, Zongtao''s paper on the synthesis and biological testing of 1,20-D3 is accepted in Scientific Reports (IF=4.26), congratulations to Zongtao, Hao, Jim and all other co-authors. 

August 14, the Li lab welcomes three new graduate students this fall, Luke from China, Najah from Saudi, and Brandon from Atlanta. Luke and Najah will work on chemistry, and Brandon will work on biology. 

August 11, Zongtao will join University of Pensylvinia as a postdoctoral researcher starting from September 1. Qinghui will join Cornell Medical School in NYC as a postdoctoral researcher starting September 1. Both Zongtao and Qinghui are in the Medicinal Chemistry track. Congratulations to Zongtao and Qinghui, for their hard work in the past five years and the advancement in their professional careers. The group and our collaborators will miss the them a LOT and wish the best for their career development!

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