Yan Michael Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Yan Michael Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 670
Rochester, NY 14642

Appointment: (585) 276-3000

  • Accepting New Patients Accepting New Patients
  • Admits to Strong Memorial Hospital Admits to Strong Memorial Hospital
  • Admits to Highland Hospital Admits to Highland Hospital

Professional Bio

Dr. Yan Michael Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and Oncology and an award-winning neurosurgeon who specializes in the treatment of brain tumors and complex spine diseases.

Dr. Li treats patients with brain and spine tumor, including gliomas, meningioma, metastatic disease, skull base lesions. He employs advanced awake mapping, imaging techniques, intraoperative navigation and microsurgery to ensure maximal tumor removal and achieve the safest possible surgical outcomes. Dr. Li has advanced training in some of the most leading-edge technologies available, allowing him to provide the latest, most efficient options for each patient. These technologies include minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery for spine, brain and skull base tumors, advanced laser surgery for brain and metastatic spine tumor, primary spine tumor en bloc resection, stereotactic radiosurgery. Furthermore, Dr. Li works with a multi-disciplinary team to ensure that the best possible treatment strategies are offered to his patients and individualized treatments for brain and spine tumors based on personal genomic profiling.

Dr. Li also has strong clinical interest in simple and complex spine surgery, minimally invasive spinal surgery, and computer-assisted spinal navigation surgery. He treats patients with broad aspects of spine diseases, including herniated disk disease with nerve compression, degenerative spine stenosis, complex spine tumor, trauma and deformity diseases. Dr. Li provides the latest and most efficient options for each patient with back pain, including minimally invasive herniated disk surgery through less than one inch incision, minimally invasive lateral or posterior spinal fusion surgery, artificial disc implants that allow for more mobility, revision spine surgery with reconstruction et al. In order to achieve the very best in patient outcomes, Dr. Li's practice emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to disease processes and he works very closely with other specialists such as pain specialists, neurologists and physical therapists.

Dr. Li received his medical degree from Peking Union Medical College and his PhD from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He then completed neurosurgical residency at State University of New York, fellowships at Dana Farber Cancer Center Boston Children Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School, as well as a Neurosurgical Oncology fellowship at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Li has authored more than 40 scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Cancer Cell, Nature Medicine, JAMA Oncology, Cancer Research, Neurosurgery, Journal of Neuro-Oncology, World Neurosurgery, and Toxin. He has received awards from the Department of Defense Cancer Research Program and his patent of nanoparticle gene therapy has been adopted in NCI Clinical Trial. He is currently performing research focused on maximal safe resection of brain and spine tumor, surgical outcome study for minimal invasive and complex spine surgery, Cancer specific brain and spine tumor targeted therapy and local delivery.

Current Appointments

Assistant Professor - Department of Neurosurgery (SMD) - Primary
Assistant Professor - Cancer Center


Neurological Surgery - American Board of Neurological Surgery


PhD | University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center2004
MD | Peking Union Medical College1998

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Fellowship at University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center07/01/2013 - 6/30/2014
Residency in Neurological Surgery at Harvard University Health Services01/01/2011 - 4/30/2011
Residency in Neurological Surgery at SUNY Syracuse Office of Graduate Medical Education07/01/2007 - 06/30/2013
Internship in Surgery at SUNY Syracuse Office of Graduate Medical Education07/01/2006 - 06/30/2007
Research in Surgical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute04/01/2005 - 07/31/2006