Who are we?

The Li lab is a new lab in the Biochemistry department and the ChEM-H institute at Stanford University. We use chemical biology to uncover biochemical mechanisms in innate immunity and, in parallel, develop therapeutic hypotheses and lead compounds. Innate immune pathways as the first line of defense against pathogens present many exciting opportunities for chemical biologists. These pathways are a rich source of novel chemistry: they involve diverse molecular patterns in pathogens, little-explored second messengers, and drugs with poorly understood mechanism. Activation of innate immunity is a proven therapeutic strategy for vaccination, viral infection, and cancer, while inhibition is a strategy for treating autoimmune diseases and sterile inflammation. To date, however, most modulators of innate immunity are broad, non-specific, and poorly characterized, such as killed bacteria, alum crystals, and steroids. The Li lab seeks to improve understanding of these pathways and facilitate the development of more precise drugs for preventing or treating specific diseases.

Our integrated approaches combine chemistry, biochemistry, immunology, and physiology. 


Current Research Areas:

1. Study the metabolic and transport mechanisms of 2’3’-cGAMP, the newly discovered 2nd messenger that signals danger in innate immune pathways.

2. Develop 2’3’-cGAMP analogs as tool compounds for testing therapeutic hypothesis.

3. Chemical genetics of the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway, an important innate immune pathway that is unexplored by chemical biologists.


The Li lab is under construction and is seeking highly motivated students, and postdocs to join the adventure of manipulating innate immunity for the benefit of human health. Through our multidisciplinary research program, students and postdocs will be trained in synthetic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, innate immunology, and drug development.

Motivated and interested undergraduates: please contact Lingyin directly at lingyinl@stanford.edu

Incoming and current Stanford graduate students: please contact Lingyin directly.

Postdoc applicants: please send a cover letter, a CV, and three reference letters to lingyinl@stanford.edu

A one-page research proposal that shows your area of interest is strongly encouraged.