Full time faculty

Adjunct professor

Chair professor


Pilong Li

Pilong Li, Ph.D,
Principal Investigator, Young 1000-Talent Plan
1996-2000 B.S. Beijing University
2000-2002 M.S.    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
2002-2009 Ph.D.   University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
2009-2010 Postdoc   University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
2010-2015     Postdoc    University of Pennsylvania
2016-present     Principal Investigator   Tsinghua University
Main Research Fields:
Eukaryotic cells contain numerous important membrane-less 3D micron-sized organelles. The mechanisms of their formation are elusive. Previously we discovered that multivalent proteins and their multivalent ligands (proteins or RNAs) can “liquid-liquid demixing” phase transition and generate a protein-rich sticky liquid phase floating in ambient solution. The physical properties of the second phase are very similar to those of some of the membrane-less organelles. Multivalent proteins and RNAs are prevalent in the cell, especially in these membrane-less organelles. So multivalence-driven “liquid-liquid demixing” phase transition might be one important mechanism for the assembly of the membrane-less organelles. Cells can regulate the potential to phase transition via various post-transitional modifications. My lab is dedicated to elucidate the roles of phase transition in many aspects of cell biology, in which membrane-less organelles are involved.
In addition, the macroscopic phase transition is the manifestation of microscopic molecular interaction. As such, phase transition can serve as readout of molecular interactions. We are developing “liquid-liquid demixing” phase transition based biochemical assays for investigation arbitrary molecular interactions in vitro and in vivo.
Selected Publications:
  • Li P*, Martins IRS*, Amarasinghe GK*, and Rosen MK. Internal Dynamics Control Activation and Activity of the Autoinhibited Vav DH Domain. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 2008, 15:613. 
  • Yu B*, Martins IRS*, Li P et al. Structural and Energetic Mechanisms of Cooperative Autoinhibition and Activation of Vav1. Cell 2010, 140:246-256. 
  • Zhang R, So B*, Li P*, Yong J, Glisovic T, Wan L and Dreyfuss G. Structure of a Key Intermediate of the SMN Complex Reveals Gemin2’s Crucial Function in snRNP Assembly. Cell 2011, 146:384-395. 
  • Li P#, Martins IRS, and Rosen MK. The Feasibility of Parameterizing Four-state Equilibria Using Relaxation Dispersion Measurements. Journal of Biomolecular NMR 2011, 51:57-70. 
  • Li P*, Banjade S*, Cheng H*, et. al and Rosen MK. Phase transitions in the assembly of multivalent signalling proteins. Nature 2012, 483:336-340.
  • Sun D*, Wu R*, Zheng J, Li P#, and Yu L#. Polyubiquitin chain-induced p62 phase separation drives autophagic cargo segregation. (Cell Research, accepted).

*: Equal contribution : Corresponding author

Telú║+86-10-62781416(╩ÁĐÚ╩Ď)       E-mail: plli_lab@biomed.tsinghua.edu.cn

Tsinghua University,Beijing,China,100084
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