Faqian Li, B.Med., Ph.D.

Faqian Li, B.Med., Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 626
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 276-4651
Fax: (585) 273-3637

Research Bio

Congestive heart failure is a major health problem in developed countries and incidence increases as the population ages. Cardiac chamber dilatation and poor contractile performance is the structural and functional basis of heart pump dysfunction.

At the cellular level, chamber dilatation in cardiac failure is largely caused by excessive elongation of heart muscle cells with inadequate increase in cell diameter. The Li Laboratory is investigating the molecular mechanisms that regulate cardiac muscle cell shape change and structural remodeling during heart hypertrophy and failure.

Our findings have pointed to a key role for Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in the transition from heart hypertrophy to failure. Currently, we are searching for beta-catenin signaling targets and partners in heart muscle cells with the hope of identifying key molecules involved in the regulation of cardiac muscle cell shape for future therapeutic intervention.

The Li Laboratory found that mammalian heart muscle cells rapidly switched from proliferation to hypertrophy in neonatal period while the cells in other vertebrates like chicken continued to proliferate even in adults. Using animal models and explanted failing human hearts, we showed that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling, an important developmental pathway, was upregulated during heart failure. This pathway can be explored as a potential therapeutic target.

Another impediment for cardiac repair and recovery from injuries is that the main functional cells, cardiac myocytes, lack significant regenerative potential. By investigating the molecular mechanism that control the transition of heart muscle cells from hyperplasia to hypertrophy, we aim at finding key pathways for novel interventions to promote cardiac regeneration. We are especially interested in epigenetic changes during this neonatal transition.

Epigenetics is a new frontier in biology, with far-reaching implications. Modifications of DNA and DNA binding proteins without any change in primary DNA sequences play important roles in aging, cancer, and many chronic diseases. We have shown that epigenetic changes can be used to diagnose and classify cancers.

Awards & Honors (Local)

Finalist, Young Investigator Awards | Heart Failure Society of America 2000

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 35 available »

2015 Jul
Kim EY, Zhang Y, Ye B, Segura AM, Beketaev I, Xi Y, Yu W, Chang J, Li F, Wang J. "Involvement of activated SUMO-2 conjugation in cardiomyopathy." Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2015 Jul; 1852(7):1388-99. Epub 2015 Apr 06.
2015 Mar 27
Cai Y, Nagel DJ, Zhou Q, Li F, Pi X, Knight P, Yan C. "Role of cAMP-phosphodiesterase 1C signaling in regulating growth factor receptor stability, vascular smooth muscle cell growth, migration, and neointimal hyperplasia." Circulation research. 2015 Mar 27; 116(7):1120-32. Epub 2015 Jan 21.
2013 Jun
Li Y, Zheng Y, Izumi K, Ishiguro H, Ye B, Li F, Miyamoto H. "Androgen activates ?-catenin signaling in bladder cancer cells." Endocrine-related cancer. 2013 Jun; 20(3):293-304. Epub 2013 May 20.
Ye B, Ge Y, Perens G, Hong L, Xu H, Fishbein MC, Li F. "Canonical Wnt/?-catenin signaling in epicardial fibrosis of failed pediatric heart allografts with diastolic dysfunction." Cardiovascular pathology : the official journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology. 2013 22(1):54-7. Epub 2012 Apr 02.
Lazar JF, Compton M, Li F, Knight P. "Excising a giant: report of a 7-cm coronary artery aneurysm." Texas Heart Institute journal / from the Texas Heart Institute of St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Texas Children's Hospital. 2013 40(2):173-5.

Current Appointments

Associate Professor - Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (SMD) - Primary


Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Pathology - American Board of Pathology


PhD | Anatomy | Univ of South Dakota1996
MD | Medicine | Hubei Medical College, China1983

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Pulmonary and Cardiac Pathology Fellow, Dept of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UCLA Medical Center 2008
Chief Resident, Dept of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Univ of South Dakota, Sioux Falls 2005
Resident, Dept of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Univ of South Dakota, Sioux Falls 2004
Postdoctoral Associate, Krannert Institute of Cardiology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 1998