Song Li

Professor, Director

Dr. Li is a Professor at Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Director of the Center for Pharmacogenetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, China, and pursued his postdoctoral training with Dr. Leaf Huang. He became a faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2000.

Dr. Li has broad knowledge in medicine, biology, and drug and gene delivery and is the author or co-author of over 164 peer-reviewed articles and 33 review articles or book chapters. Dr. Li serves on the editorial boards of several journals. He also frequently serves on the review panels of NIH, DOD, VA, and other funding agencies.

Research in Dr. Li’s lab has been continuously supported by grants from various funding agencies including NIH, DOD, and American Heart Association (AHA).

Research Interests

Dr. Li’s research is mainly focused on the development of lipid- and polymer-based nanodelivery systems for targeted delivery of various types of therapeutics including nucleic acids (genes, siRNA, and peptide nucleic acids), proteins, and small molecules (e.g., anticancer agents and antioxidants). Emphases are placed on the development of strategies to overcome cellular and in vivo barriers. Another research project in Dr. Li’s group is farnesoid X receptor (FXR)-mediated gene regulation in vascular cells and hepatic stellate cells.

Recent Publications

Chen, Y., Huang, Y., Li, Q., Luo, Z., Zhang, Z., Huang, H., Sun, J., Zhang, L., Sun, R., Bain, D.J., Conway, J.F., Lu, B., and Li, S. Targeting Xkr8 via nanoparticles-mediated in situ codelivery of siRNA and chemotherapy drugs for cancer immunochemotherapy. Nature Nanotechnology (in press).

Kumar, S., Das, S., Sun, J., Huang, Y., Singh, S.K., Srivastava, P., Sondarva, G., Nair, R.S., Viswakarma, N., Hoskins, K., Danciu, O., Rana, B., Li, S., and Rana, A. Mixed lineage kinase 3 and CD70 cooperation sensitize trastuzumab-resistant HER2 + breast cancer by ceramide-loaded nanoparticles. PNAS 2022; 119: e2205454119. (PMID: 36095190).

Wan, Z., Sun, R., Liu, Y.W., Li, S., Sun, J., Li, J., Zhu, J., Moharil, P., Zhang, B., Ren, P., Ren, G., Ma, X., Dai, S., Yang, D., Lu, B., and Li, S. Targeting metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 for cancer immunotherapy. Science Advances 2021; 7: eabj4226. (PMID: 34890233)

Huang, H., Huang, Y., Chena, Y., Luo, Z., Zhang, Z., Sun, R., Wan, Z., Sun, J., Lu, B., Zhang, L., Hu, J., and Li, S. A novel immunochemotherapy based on targeting of cyclooxygenase and induction of immunogenic cell death. Biomaterials 2021; 270: 120708. (PMID: 33578254)

Sun, J., Wan, Z., Xu, J., Luo, Z., Ren, P., Zhang, B., Diao, D., Huang, Y., and Li, S. Tumor size-dependent abscopal effect of polydopamine-coated all-in-one nanoparticles for immunochemo-photothermal therapy of early and late-stage metastatic cancer. Biomaterials 2021; 269: 120629. (PMID: 33387938)

Sun, J., Chen, Y., Xu, J., Song, X., Wan, Z., Du, Y., Ma, W., Li, X., Zhang, L., and Li, S. High loading of hydrophobic and hydrophilic agents via small immunostimulatory carrier for enhanced tumor penetration and combinational therapy. Theranostics 2020; 10: 1136-1150.

Xu, J., Wang, B., and Li, S. Gene and Cell Therapy. In: “Remington: The Science & Practice of Pharmacy”, A. Adejare (Ed.), Academic Press, 23rd Edition, pp463-488, 2020.

Xu, J., Sun, J., Ho, P.Y., Luo, Z., Ma, W., Zhao, W., Rathod, S., Fernandez, C., Venkataramanan, R., Xie, W., Ai-Ming Yu, A.M., and Li, S. Creatine based polymer for codelivery of bioengineered microRNA and chemodrugs against breast cancer lung metastasis. Biomaterials 2019; 210: 25-40. (PMID: 31054369).

Xu, J., Zhao, W., Sun, J., Huang, Y., Wang P., Wenkataramanan, R., Yang, D., Ma, X., Rana, A., and Li, S. Novel glucosylceramide synthase inhibitor based prodrug micelles for delivery of anticancer agents. Journal of Controlled Release 2018; 288: 212-226. (PMID: 30223045).

Chen, Y., Xia, R., Huang, Y., Zhao, W., Li, J., Zhang, X., Wang, P., Venkataramanan, R., Fan, J., Xie, W., Ma, X., Lu, B., and Li. S. An immunostimulatory nanocarrier that improves cancer immunochemotherapy. Nature Communication 7: 13443, 2016. (PMID: 27819653).

Zhang, P., Li, J., Ghazwani, M., Zhao, W., Huang, Y., Zhang, X., Venkataramanan, R., and Li, S. Effective co-delivery of doxorubicin and dasatinib using a PEG-Fmoc nanocarrier for combination cancer chemotherapy. Biomaterials 67: 104-114, 2015. (PMID: 26210177).

Lu, J., Liu, C., Wang, P., Ghazwani, M., Xu, J., Huang, Y., Ma, X., Zhang, P., and Li, S. The self-assembling camptothecin-tocopherol prodrug: an effective approach for formulating camptothecin. Biomaterials 62: 176-187, 2015.

Zhang, X., Huang, Y., Zhao, W., Liu, H., Marquez, R., Lu, J., Zhang, P., Zhang, Y., Li, J., Gao, X., Venkataramanan, R., Xu, L., and Li, S. Targeted delivery of anticancer agents via a dual function nanocarrier with an interfacial drug-interactive motif. Biomacromolecules 15: 4326-4335, 2014 (PMID: 25325795).

Lu, J., Zhao, W., Liu, H., Marquez, R., Huang, Y., Zhang, Y., Li, J., Xie, W., Venkataramanan, R., Xu, L., and Li, S. An improved D-α-tocopherol-based nanocarrier for targeted delivery of doxorubicin with reversal of multidrug resistance. Journal of Controlled Release 196: 272-286, 2014. (PMID: 25456831)

Zhang, P., Huang, Y., Liu, H., Marquez, R., Lu, J., Zhao, W., Zhang, X., Gao, X., Li, J., Venkataramanan, R., Xu, L., Li, S. A PEG-Fmoc conjugate as a nanocarrier for paclitaxel. Biomaterials 35: 7146-7156, 2014. (PMID: 24856103)

Gao, X., Huang, Y., Makhov, A.M., Epperly, M., Lu, J., Grab, S., Zhang, P., Rohan, L., Xie, X.Q., Wipf, P., Greenberger, J., and Li, S. Nano-assembly of surfactants with interfacial drug-interactive motifs as tailor-designed drug carriers. Molecular Pharmaceutics 10: 187-198, 2013. (PMID: 23244299)

Lu, J., Huang, Y., Zhao, W., Marquez, R.T., Meng, X., Li, J., Gao, X., Venkataramanan, R., Li, S. PEG-derivatized embelin as a novel nanomicellar carrier for targeted delivery of paclitaxel to breast and prostate cancers. Biomaterials 34: 1591-1600, 2013. (PMID: 23182923)

Li, J., Ghazwani, M., Zhang, Y., Lu, J., Li, J., Fan, J., Gandhi, C.R., and Li, S. miR-122 regulates collagen production via targeting hepatic stellate cells and suppressing P4HA1 expression. Journal of Hepatology 58: 522-528, 2013. (PMID: 23178710)

Gao, X., Kuruba, R., Achary, D.K., Day, B.W., Liu, D., and Li, S. Polyhydroxylalkyleneamines: a class of hydrophilic polymer-based gene transfer agents. Journal of Controlled Release 137: 38-45, 2009. (PMID: 19332088)

Zhang, Q., He, F., Kuruba, R., Gao, X., Wilson, A., Li, J., Billiar, T.R., Pitt, B.R., Xie, W., and Li, S. FXR-mediated regulation of angiotensin type 2 receptor expression in vascular smooth muscle cells. Cardiovascular Research 77: 560-569, 2008. (PMID: 18006431)

Li, J., Wilson, A., Kuruba, R., Zhang, Q., Gao, X., He, F., Zhang, L.M., Pitt, B.R., Xie, W., and Li, S. FXR-mediated regulation of eNOS expression in vascular endothelial cells. Cardiovascular Research 77: 169-177, 2008. (PMID: 18006476)

He, F., Li, J., Mu, Y., Kuruba, R., Ma, Z., Wilson, A., Alber, S., Jiang, Y., Stevens, T., Watkins, S., Pitt, P., Xie, W., and Li, S. Downregulation of endothelin-1 by farnesoid X receptor in vascular endothelial cells. Circulation Research 98: 192-199, 2006. (PMID: 16357303)

Wilson, A., Zhou, W., Champion, H., Alber, S., Tang Z.-L., Kennel, S., Watkins, S., Huang, L., Pitt, B., and Li, S. Targeted delivery of oligodeoxynucleotides to mouse lung endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo. Molecular Therapy 13: 510-518, 2005. (PMID: 15953766)

Banerjee, R., Tyagi, P., *Li, S., and *Huang, L. Anisamide-targeted stealth liposomes: a potent carrier for targeting doxorubicin to prostate cancer cells. International Journal of Cancer 112: 693-700, 2004 (*co-correspondence author). (PMID: 15382053)

Yang, L., Li, J., Zhou, W., Yuan, X., and Li, S. Targeted delivery of antisense oligodeoxynucleotides to folate receptor-overexpressing tumor cells. Journal of Controlled Release 95: 321-331, 2004. (PMID: 14980780)


R01CA216410 Developing Nano Technology for HER2 Directed Therapy
PI: Ajay Rana (contact PI) & Song Li (co-PI)

R01CA219399 Immunostimulatory Nanocarrier for Breast Cancer Immunochemotherapy
PI: Song Li

R01CA223788 Nanotherapeutics for Synergistic Targeting of Myc in Prostate Cancer
PI: Song Li

RO1 CA239716 Study of Interleukin 33 as A New Immunotherapy of Lung Cancer
PI: Binfeng Lu (contact PI) & Song Li (co-PI)

RO1AI145034 CD4 T Cell-Targeted Nanoparticle in vivo delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editors for HIV Cure
Subaward with Dr. Wenhui Hu (PI) of Temple University