LI Yan

Assistant Professor Department of Biology

Dr. Li obtained her Ph.D. degree from the University of Hong Kong. After three years of postdoctoral training in Faculty of Medicine, HKU, she joined SUSTech as an assistant professor in 2016. Dr. Li mainly focused on cancer genetics and epigenetics. Particularly, she made progresses on studying the roles RNA editing during cancer development. She has published more than 20 papers in international journals, including Nature Medicine, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Gut, and etc, with a cumulative impact factor of 270 points and SCI citations more than 1,000 times.

Personal Profile

Dr. Li obtained her Ph.D. degree from the University of Hong Kong. After three years of postdoctoral training in Faculty of Medicine, HKU, she joined SUSTech as an assistant professor in 2016. Dr. Li mainly focused on cancer genetics and epigenetics. Particularly, she made progresses on studying the roles RNA editing during cancer development. She has published more than 20 papers in international journals, including Nature Medicine, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Gut, and etc.


1. Identification of the genes related to the occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma, esophageal cancer and gastric cancer

2. Exploration of the roles of RNA editing, RNA alternative splicing and other transcriptional regulatory mechanisms in tumorigenesis and development

3. Identification of cancer stem cells and their regulation mechanisms


General Biology

Introduction to Life Sciences

Advanced Biological Sciences

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1. Chen LL*, Li Y*, Chi HL, Liu M, Song YY, Chan TH, Yuan YF, Chow RKK, Fu L, Kong KL, Zhang N, Tong AHY, Kwong DLW, Man K, Lo CM, Lok S, Tenen DG, Guan XY. Recoding RNA editing of antizyme inhibitor 1 predisposes to hepatocellular carcinoma. Nature Medicine. 2013 Feb;19(2):209-16. (IF: 32.621) (.(*:co-first authors)

2. Li Y, Chen L, Chan TH, Guan XY. Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Transcriptome diversity regulated by RNA editing. The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. 2013 Aug;45(8):1843-8. (IF: 3.247)

3. Li Y, Chen LL, Chan TH, Liu M, Kong KL, Li Y, Qiu JL, Yuan YF, Guan XY. SPOCK1 is regulated by CHD1L and blocks apoptosis and promotes HCC cell invasiveness and metastasis in mice. Gastroenterology. 2013 Jan;144(1):179-191. (IF: 20.773)

4. Wu B, Zhang D, Nie H, Shen S, Li Y, Li S. Structure of Arabidopsis thaliana N6-methyl-AMP deaminase ADAL with bound GMP and IMP and implications for N6-methyl-AMP recognition and processing. RNA Biol. 2019 Oct;16(10):1504-1512.

5. Wang Z, Yan M, Li J, Long J, Li Y*, Zhang H*. Dual functions of STAT3 in LPS-induced angiogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2019 Apr;1866(4):566-574. (IF: 4.651) (*:co-corresponding authors)

6. Sin STK, Li Y, Liu M, Ma S, Guan XY.TROP-2 exhibits tumor suppressive functions in cervical cancer by dual inhibition of IGF-1R and ALK signaling. Gynecol Oncol. 2019 Jan;152(1):185-193. (IF: 4.540)

7. Li L, Li JC, Yang H, Zhang X, Liu LL, Li Y, Zeng TT, Zhu YH, Li XD, Li Y, Xie D, Fu L, Guan XY. Expansion of cancer stem cell pool initiates lung cancer recurrence before angiogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Sep 18;115(38):E8948-E8957. (IF: 9.504)

8. Zhao H, Yuan X, Yu J, Huang Y, Shao C, Xiao F, Lin L, Li Y, Tian L. Magnesium-Stabilized Multifunctional DNA Nanoparticles for Tumor-Targeted and pH-Responsive Drug Delivery. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 May 9;10(18):15418-15427. (IF: 8.097)

9. Dai Y, Liu L, Zeng T, Liang JZ, Song Y, Chen K, Li Y, Chen L, Zhu YH, Li J, Li Y, Xie D, Yuan YF, Guan XY. Overexpression of MUC13, a Poor Prognostic Predictor, Promotes Cell Growth by Activating Wnt Signaling in Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Am J Pathol. 2018 Feb;188(2):378-391. (IF: 4.069)

10. Yan Q, Jiang L, Liu M, Yu D, Zhang Y, Li Y, Fang S, Li Y, Zhu YH, Yuan YF, Guan XY. ANGPTL1 Interacts with Integrin α1β1 to Suppress HCC Angiogenesis and Metastasis by Inhibiting JAK2/STAT3 Signaling. Cancer Res. 2017 Nov 1;77(21):5831-5845. (IF: 9.130)

11. Jiang L, Yan Q, Fang S, Liu M, Li Y, Yuan YF, Li Y, Zhu Y, Qi J, Yang X, Kwong DLW, Guan XY. Calcium binding protein 39 promotes hepatocellular carcinoma growth and metastasis by activating ERK signaling pathway. Hepatology. 2017 Nov;66(5):1529-1545. (IF: 14.079)

12. Chow RK, Sin ST, Liu M, Li Y, Chan TH, Song Y, Chen L, Kwong DL, Guan XY. AKR7A3 suppresses tumorigenicity and chemoresistance in hepatocellular carcinoma through attenuation of ERK, c-Jun and NF-κB signaling pathways. Oncotarget. 2016 Oct 18;8(48):83469-83479. (IF: 5.168)

13. Liu M, Chen L, Ma NF, Chow RK, Li Y, Song Y, Chan TH, Fang S, Yang X, Xi S, Jiang L, Li Y, Zeng TT, Li Y, Yuan YF, Guan XY. CHD1L promotes lineage reversion of hepatocellular carcinoma through opening chromatin for key developmental transcription factors. Hepatology. 2016 May;63(5):1544-59. (IF: 14.079)

14. Jiang L, Kwong DL, Li Y, Liu M, Yuan YF, Li Y, Fu L, Guan XY. HBP21, a chaperone of heat shock protein 70, functions as a tumor suppressor in hepatocellular carcinoma. Carcinogenesis. 2015 Oct;36(10):1111-20. (IF:5.072)

15. Song Y, Pan G, Chen L, Ma S, Zeng T, Chan HM, Li L, Lian Q, Chow R, Cai X, Li Y, Li Y, Liu M, Li Y, Zhu Y, Wong N, Yuan YF, Pei D, Guan XY. Loss of ATOH8 increases stem cell features of hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Gastroenterology. 2015 Oct;149(4):1068-81. (IF: 20.773)

16. Chan TH, Lin CH, Qi L, Fei J, Li Y, Yong KJ, Liu M, Song Y, Chow RK, Ng VH, Yuan YF, Tenen DG, Guan XY, Chen L. A disrupted RNA editing balance mediated by ADARs in human hepatocellular carcinoma. Gut. 2014 May;63(5):832-43. (IF: 17.016)

17. Liu M, Li Y, Chen L, Chan TH, Song Y, Fu L, Zeng TT, Dai YD, Zhu YH, Li Y, Chen J, Yuan YF, Guan XY. Allele-specific imbalance of oxidative stress-induced growth inhibitor 1 associates with progression of hepatocellular carcinoma. Gastroenterology. 2014 Apr;146(4):1084-96. (IF: 20.773 )

18. Liu L, Dai Y, Chen J, Zeng T, Li Y, Chen L, Zhu YH, Li J, Li Y, Xie D, Yuan YF, Guan XY. Maelstrom promotes hepatocellular carcinoma metastasis by inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition via Akt/GSK-3β/Snail signaling. Hepatology. 2014 Feb;59(2):531-43. (IF: 14.079)

19. Liu M, Chen LL, Chan TH, Wang J, Li Y, Li Y, Zeng TT, Yuan YF, Guan XY. Serum and glucocorticoid kinase 3 at 8q13.1 promotes cell proliferation and survival in hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatology. 2012;55:1754-65. (IF: 14.079)

20. Kong KL, Kwong DL, Chan TH, Law SY, Chen L, Li Y, Qin YR, Guan XY. MicroRNA-375 inhibits tumor growth and metastasis in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma through repressing insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor. Gut. 2012 Jan;61(1):33-42. (IF: 17.016)

21. Li J, Lau GK, Chen L, Dong SS, Lan HY, Huang XR, Li Y, Luk JM, Yuan YF, Guan XY. Interleukin 17A promotes hepatocellular carcinoma metastasis via NF-kB induced matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 expression. PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e21816. (IF:2.766)

22. Tang DJ, Dong SS, Ma NF, Xie D, Chen LL, Fu L, Lau SH, Li Y, Li Y, Guan XY. Overexpression of EIF5A2 enhances cell motility and promotes tumor metastasis in hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatology. 2010 Apr;51(4):1255-63 (IF: 14.079)

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Welcome to the Department of Biology! Since its establishment in 2012, the Department of Biology has attracted internationally renowned professors to join as leaders and dozens of young scientists to start their independent academic career here pursuit of excellence in research and teaching. The research interests of our faculty members include diverse topics such as systems biology, plant biology, neurobiology, structural biology and molecular cell biology. The primary goals of our faculty are to address the most significant fundamental biological questions and to develop new strategies to treat various complex diseases. Such efforts will benefit from the shared inter-disciplinary collaborative spirit deeply rooted in the minds of all the faculty members working in different departments at SUSTech.

Mentoring the next generation biologists with the highest standards is another primary task of the Department of Biology. Our professors choose internationally acclaimed textbooks to teach core courses biological sciences, biotechnology and bioinformatics. Undergraduates are encouraged to join the laboratory early to get firsthand working experience in basic and/or applied biological research, which helps them to consolidate the mastering of basic techniques, to broaden their knowledge horizons and to acquire the capabilities of problem identifying, hypothesis formulating and problem solving.

Life science, one of the fastest developing natural scientific disciplines, has been the driving force behind the growth of the world economy and provides the know for the development of new technologies serving to improve the human health and welfare at large. Wit generous financial support from the Shenzhen municipal government, we are confident that the Department of Biology in SUSTech will surely grow into a top tier globally-renowned research and teaching center!

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