Peng Li, Ph.D.

Professor, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fellow of TWAS, Director of the Division of Life Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China.

1987.07  BS degree; Department of Biology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
1995.10  Ph.D. degree; University of California at San Diego, California, USA
1995.01-1996.11  Research Fellow, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, National University of Singapore, Singapore
1996.12-1997.11  Research Associate, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA
1997.12-2002.12  Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore
2003.01-2006.6  Assistant and Associate professor (Tenured), Department of Biology, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong
2006.7- Present  Professor, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China


Research interest

Peng Li's laboratory is interested in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism, lipid droplet biology and the molecular basis of metabolic diseases including obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease. They have identified several important molecules controlling lipid droplet fusion and lipid droplet-ER interaction and have elucidated their roles in the development of obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease.

Courses offered

Molecular basis of human disease (in English)

Selected publications

1. Du X, Zhou L, Aw Y, Mak HY, Xu Y, Rae J, Wang W, Zadoorian A, Hancock S, Osborne B, Chen X, Wu JW, Turner N, Parton RG, Li P*, and Yang H* (2020) ORP5 localizes to ER-lipid droplet contacts and regulates the level of PI(4)P on lipid droplets. J Cell Biol. 219: pii: e201905162.
2. Su L, Zhou L, Chen FJ, Wang H, Qian H, Sheng Y, Zhu Y, Yu H, Gong X, Cai L, Yang X, Xu L, Zhao TJ, Li JZ, Chen X*, Li P* (2019) Cideb controls sterol-regulated ER export of SREBP/SCAP by promoting cargo loading at ER exit sites. EMBO J. 38:e100156.
3. Li Q, Zhao Q, Zhang J, Zhou L, Zhang W, Chua B, Chen Y, Xu L*, Li P* (2019) The Protein Phosphatase 1 Complex Is a Direct Target of AKT that Links Insulin Signaling to Hepatic Glycogen Deposition. Cell Rep. 28:3406-22
4. Xu D, Li Y, Wu L, Li Y, Zhao D, Yu J, Huang T, Ferguson C, Parton RG, Yang H, Li P* (2018) Rab18 promotes lipid droplet growth by tethering the ER to lipid droplets through SNARE and NRZ interactions. J Cell Biol. 217:975-95.
5. Zhou L, Yu M, Arshad M, Wang W, Lu Y, Gong J, Gu Y, Li P*, Xu L* (2018) Coordination Among Lipid Droplets, Peroxisomes, and Mitochondria Regulates Energy Expenditure Through the CIDE-ATGL-PPARα Pathway in Adipocytes. Diabetes 67:1935-48.
6. Qian H, Chen Y, Nian Z, Su L, Yu H, Chen FJ, Zhang X, Xu W, Zhou L, Liu J, Yu J, Yu L, Gao Y, Zhang H, Zhang H, Zhao S, Yu L, Xiao RP, Bao Y, Hou S, Li P, Li J, Deng H, Jia W, Li P* (2017) HDAC6-mediated acetylation of lipid droplet-binding protein CIDEC regulates fat-induced lipid storage. J Clin Invest. 127: 1353-69.
7. Zhou L, Park SY, Xu L, Xia X, Ye J, Su L, Jeong KH, Hur JH2, Oh H, Tamori Y, Zingaretti CM, Cinti S, Argente J, Yu M, Wu L, Ju S, Guan F,Yang H, Choi CS, Savage DB, Li P* (2015) Insulin resistance and white adipose tissue inflammation are uncoupled in energetically challenged Fsp27 deficient mice. Nat Commum. 6, 5949.
8. Wu L, Xu D, Zhou L, Xie B, Yu L, Yang H, Huang L, Ye J, Deng H, Yuan YA, Chen S, Li P* (2014) Rab8a-AS160-MSS4 regulatory circuit controls lipid droplet fusion and growth. Dev Cell 30: 378-93.
9. Sun Z, Gong J, Wu H, Xu W, Wu L, Xu D, Gao J, Wu J, Yang H, Yang M and Li P* (2013) Perilipin1 promotes unilocular lipid droplet formation through activation of Fsp27 in adipocytes. Nat Commum. 4: 1594
10. Wang W, Lv N, Zhang S, Shui G, Qian H, Zhang J, Chen Y, Ye J, Xie Y, Shen Y, Wenk MR, Li P* (2012) Cidea is an essential transcriptional coactivator regulating mammary gland secretion of milk lipids. Nat Med. 18: 235-43.
11. Gong J, Sun Z, Wu L, Xu W, Schieber N, Xu D, Shui G, Yang H, Parton RG, Li P* (2011) Fsp27 promotes lipid droplet growth by lipid exchange and transfer at lipid droplet contact sites. J Cell Biol. 195: 953-63.
12. Ye J, Li JZ, Liu Y, Li X, Yang T, Ma X, Li Q, Yao Z, Li P* (2009) Cideb, an ER- and lipid droplet-associated protein, mediates VLDL lipidation and maturation by interacting with apolipoprotein B. Cell Metab. 9: 177-90.
13. Qi J, Gong J, Zhao T, Zhao J, Lam P, Ye J, Li JZ, Wu J, Zhou HM, Li P* (2008) Downregulation of AMP-activated protein kinase by Cidea-mediated ubiquitination and degradation in brown adipose tissue. EMBO J. 27: 1537-48.
14. Li JZ, Ye J, Xue B, Qi J, Zhang J, Zhou Z, Li Q, Wen Z, Li P*(2007) Cideb regulates diet-induced obesity, liver steatosis, and insulin sensitivity by controlling lipogenesis and fatty acid oxidation, Diabetes 56: 2523-32.
15.Zhou Z, Yon Toh S, Chen Z, Guo K, Ng CP, Ponniah S, Lin SC, Hong W, Li P* (2003) Cidea-deficient mice have lean phenotype and are resistant to obesity. Nat Genet. 35: 49-56.



Singapore Young Scientist Award in 1999;
Cheung Kong Scholar in 2006;
Outstanding Young Talent in 2009;
Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation prize for Scientific and Technological Progress in Life Sciences in 2012


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