Dr. Li’s long-term goal is to understand the signal transduction that coordinates the gene-environment interaction in biological processes associated with metabolic homeostasis, and investigate how dysregulation of this interplay contributes to pathogenesis of metabolic diseases and aging. To achieve this goal, her group focuses on NAD+ metabolism, SIRT1, a highly conserved NAD+-dependent protein deacylase, and protein lysine acylation. Using mice and cultured cells as model systems, the group combines molecular, cellular, and genetic approaches to study the functions of these factors/processes in regulation of metabolism, stress response, intestinal tissue homeostasis, development, and ultimately aging. The current research areas include host-microbe interaction in host NAD metabolism and related (patho)physiology; host regulation of gut microbiota in intestinal tissue homeostasis, inflammation, and tumorigenesis; metabolic and epigenetic regulation of stem cell functions and embryogenesis; and metabolic and epigenetic regulation of tumorigenesis.
Relevance of Research to CGIBD Mission: Dr. Li’s research combines the diverse disciplines of biology to study how gut microbiota interacts with nutrients to impact metabolism and homeostasis of host tissues, particularly intestinal epithelium. By focusing on inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer using genetically modified mouse strains and gnotobiotic mouse models, Dr. Li’s research is directly in line with the CGIBD’s mission. Their studies have the potential to lead to novel therapies for a number of metabolism-related intestinal diseases.
CGIBD Focus Area(s): Gut microbiota, nutrient metabolism, IBD, CRC
Collaborators: Sandler, Keku, Azcarate-Peril, Gulati