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Associate Professor
Genome Sciences Building 3256


Elucidating Antimicrobial Mode of Action.
More than half of all clinical antibiotics are natural products or the derivatives thereof. The Li group studies the antimicrobial mechanisms of underexplored classes of natural products and identifying synergistic combinations and conjugates of natural products in an effort to generate leads for next generation antibiotics that avoid or overcome resistance.

Deciphering the biosynthesis of antibiotics and antimetabolites.
Knowledge of biosynthetic chemistry is critical for efficient identification and engineering of natural products. The group’s research has focused on deciphering the biosynthetic pathways for natural products with unique structures and useful activities, including the antibiotic bicyclomycin and antimetabolite methoxyvinylglycine.

Identifying small molecules that enable or inhibit infectious disease.
Controlling and mitigating an infection requires a thorough understanding of how pathogens evade host defenses. The Li group is identifying small molecule virulence factors by mining the genomes of phytopathogens and studying their functions in plant infections.