Xue-Jun(June) Li » MBT Faculty and Staff

Xue-Jun(June) Li » MBT Faculty and Staff 2017-08-01T10:19:56+00:00

Xue-Jun(June) Li

Visiting Associate Professor University of Illinois College of Medicine RockfordBiomedical Research
Photo of Xue-Jun(June) Li

Biographical Info

Human pluripotent stem cells, including both human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), have the capacity to become all cell types in the body, including neurons. They thus provide an invaluable tool for studying early human neural development and exploring the potential treatment of neurological diseases.

One of the research focuses in my lab is to specify neuronal subtypes from human pluripotent stem cells. In particular, we are interested in motor neurons whose degeneration underlies many debilitating diseases. By applying a set of morphogens in a specific time window, we have previously established a unique paradigm to efficiently generate spinal motor neurons from hESCs. Another type of motor neuron, cortical motor neuron, is specified by a very different mechanism than spinal motor neurons. By combining both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, my group aims to establish a system to generate currently unavailable human cortical motor neurons. I also seek to build a 3-diementional neural tissue co-culture model to study the specification of cortical neuronal subtypes and the connection between cortical and spinal motor neurons.

The other focus of my research is to use human pluripotent stem cells to model motor neuron diseases, major causes for disabilities. My group has successfully established both hESC- and iPSC-based models for spinal muscular atrophy (affecting spinal motor neurons) and hereditary spastic paraplegia (affecting cortical motor neurons), which recapitulate the disease-specific motor neuron and axonal degeneration. We are now building models for spinal cord injury by severing distal axons of cortical neurons. Using these human stem cell-based disease models, my lab will 1) investigate the mechanisms underlying motor neuron and axonal degeneration; 2) build high-throughput and high-content drug-screening systems; 3) identify targets and therapeutic agents to rescue motor neuron and axonal degeneration and to promote axonal regeneration.  My long-term goals are to understand the pathogenic mechanisms and to develop therapies for the treatment of theses debilitating diseases.

For a complete List of publications in pubmed:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/xue-jun.li.1/bibliography/44756010/public/?sort=date&direction=ascending

Selected Publications:

Li, X.J., Du, Z.W., Zarnowska, E.D., Pankratz, M., Hansen, L.O., Pearce, R.A., and Zhang, S.C. (2005). Specification of motoneurons from human embryonic stem cells. Nature Biotechnology, 23(2): 215-21. PMID: 15685164.

Wang, Z.B., Zhang, X., and Li, X.J. (2013). Recapitulation of spinal motor neuron-specific disease phenotypes in a human cell model of spinal muscular atrophy. Cell Research, 23(3):378-93. doi: 10.1038/cr.2012.166. PMID: 23208423.

Denton, K.R., Lei, L., Grenier, J., Rodionov, V., Blackstone, C., and Li, X.J. (2014). Loss of spastin function results in disease-specific axonal defects in human pluripotent stem cell-based models of hereditary spastic paraplegia. Stem Cells, 232(2):414-23. doi: 10.1002/stem.1569. PMID: 24123785.

Boisvert, E.M., Engle, S.J., Hallowell, S.E., Liu, P., Wang, Z.W., and Li, X.J. (2015). The specification and maturation of nociceptive neurons from human embryonic stem cells. Scientific Reports, 5: 16821; doi: 10.1038/srep16821. PMID: 26581770.

Xu, C.C., Denton, K.R., Wang, Z.B., Zhang, X., and Li, X.J. (2016). Abnormal mitochondrial transport and morphology as early pathological changes in human models of spinal muscular atrophy. Disease Models & Mechanisms, 9(1):39-49. doi: 10.1242/dmm.021766. PMID: 26586529.

Categories: Biomedical Science, RMDR
Updated 4 months ago.

Department of Biomedical Science Staff

Biomedical Department Scientists

Aoshuang Chen, PhD, Associate Professor, aoshuang@uic.edu

Ramaswamy Kalyanasundaram, DVM, PhD, Professor, ramswamy@uic.edu

Xue-Jun (June) Li, PhD, Associate Professor, xjli23@uic.edu

Mathew Mathew, PhD, Associate Professor, mtmathew@uic.edu

Gnanasekar Munirathiam, Associate Professor, mgnanas@uic.edu

Karin Nitiss, Research Associate Professor, knitiss@uic.edu

Neelu Puri, Associate Professor, neelupur@uic.edu

Guoxing Zheng, Associate Professor, guoxingz@uic.edu

 

Department of Biomedical Sciences Administrative Staff

Department Head

Ramaswamy Kalyanasundaram, DVM, PhD ramaswamy@uic.edu
Professor and Head, Department of Biomedical Sciences

 

Biomedical Sciences Administration

Nancy Olson, Business Manager
nanolson@uic.edu

Janet Stull Snow, Program Administrative Assistant
jlss@uic.edu

 

Research Support

Andrew Canciamille, acanci2@uic.edu

Jessica Gorman, jgorma2@uic.edu

Joseph Orthoefer, DVM, josepho@uic.edu

Laura Sykaluk, Research Technologist, lsykal2@uic.edu

 

Master in Medical Biotechnology Program Administration

Khalifah Sidik, PhD, Director, khsidik@uic.edu

Sarah Hays, Assistant Director, sarhays@uic.edu

Wendy Schultz, site-specific Registrar functions, wschultz@uic.edu

 

Adjunct Faculty

Deborah Breiter, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Immunology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry

Rockford University

 

Ryan Bomgarden, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Molecular Biology, Cell Biology

Thermo Fisher Scientific

 

E. Thomas Carey, PharmD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Pharmacology

SwedishAmerican – A Division of UW Health

 

Isaac Cha, PharmD, Clinical Assistant Professor

Specialty:  Pharmacology

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago

University of Illinois College of Pharmacy at Rockford

 

Jae Choi, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Specialty:  Research & Development

Thermo Fisher Scientific

 

Surbhi Desai, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Immunology, Proteomics

Thermo Fisher Scientific

 

Joshua Edwards, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Pharmacology

Midwestern University

 

Megan Fleischmann, PharmD

Specialty:  Pharmacology

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, Family Health Center

 

Lawrence D. Frenkel, MD, Adjunct Professor

Specialty:  Microbiology

Georgetown University School of Medicine

 

Keith Glaser, PhD, Adjunct Professor

Specialty:  Drug Development

Abbott Laboratories

 

Wade Green, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Entrepreneur Start-up, Intellectual Property

Office of Technology Management, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

Leslyn Hanakahi, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Specialty:  Molecular Biophysics, Biochemistry

Department of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

Paul Haney, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Cell Biology, Biochemistry

Thermo Fisher Scientific

 

Rita Highland, RN, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Clinical Lab Instruction

SwedishAmerican – A Division of UW Health

 

Scott Homann, MD, Associate Professor

Specialty:  Infectious Disease

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford

Rockford Infectious Disease

 

Rohit Kolhatkar, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Specialty:  Drug Delivery, Nanotechnology

Department of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

N. Martin MacDowell, Jr., Research Associate Professor

Specialty:  National Center for Rural Health Professionals

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, Department of Family and Community Medicine

 

John Nitiss, PhD, Adjunct Professor

Specialty:  Anticancer, Therapeutics and Imaging

University of Illinois College of Pharmacy at Rockford

 

Marie Nlend, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Immunohistochemistry

Thermo Fisher Scientific

 

Richard Olson, MD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Clinical Research

Rockford Orthopedic Associates

 

Ray Ortiz, HT (ASCP), QIHC

Specialty:  Immunohistochemistry

MercyRockford Health System

 

Jacob Peuler, PhD, Adjunct Professor

Specialty:  Pharmacology

Midwestern University

 

Walter Prozialeck, PhD, Adjunct Research Professor

Specialty:  Pharmacology

Midwestern University

 

Kianoush Sheykholeslami, MD, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Specialty: Neuroscience, Head/Neck Surgery

MercyRockford Health System

 

Troy Skwor, PhD., Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Chemical/Biological Research

Rockford University

 

Thomas Smith, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Biostatistics

Northern Illinois University

 

James Stim, MD, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Specialty:  Pharmacology

Rockford Nephrology Associates

 

James Sturm, MD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Anesthesiology, Pharmacology

MercyRockford Health System

 

Lindsey Tompkins, MS

Specialty:  IRB Statistics

Rockford Cardiovascular Associates

 

Geoffrey Tsaras, MD, Adjunct Clinical Instructor

Specialty:  Infectious Disease

Rockford Infectious Disease

 

Michael Tyrkus, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Cytogenetics

MercyRockford Heath System

 

Krishna Vattem, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Molecular Biology

Thermo Fisher Scientific

 

Kapila Viges, PhD, Adjunct Instructor

Specialty:  Entrepreneur Start-up

EnterpriseWorks, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

Brian Webb, PhD, Adjunct Professor

Specialty:  Molecular Biology

Thermo Fisher Scientific