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Deqiang Li, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:


Additional Title:

Assistant Professor


800 W Baltimore ST, Baltimore, MD 21201

Phone (Primary):




Education and Training

  • China Medical University, China, BS, 1996
  • Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, PhD, Medical and Molecular Genetics, 2009
  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Postdoc, Cardiovascular development and regeneration, 2015
  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Instructor, Cardiovascular development and regeneration, 2017


Research in my laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanisms of cardiovascular development and promoting adult heart regeneration. Ventricular myocardial morphogenesis is a critical and complicated process during early heart development. Interestingly, a number of key signals for myocardial development such as Neuregulin 1 are transmitted from the endocardium, a single layer of endothelial cells that line along the trabecular myocardium. However, it is not well understood how these signals are initiated at the endocardium in the first place. We hypothesize that the epigenetic modifications occurring in the endocardium might be one of the early key regulatory steps that define/guide the later trabecular myocardial development. We are currently actively testing this hypothesis.

Improving heart regeneration still poses a huge research challenge to us, since the adult heart is one of the least regenerative organs in mammals. To tackle this question, we have generated a new mouse tool, AurkbER Cre/+, for quantifying adult cardiomyocyte proliferation, which has been quite difficult in the past, due to the rarity of proliferation events and the propensity of multinucleation in adult cardiomyocytes. This new mouse tool will allow us to more precisely quantify adult cardiomyocyte proliferation in a retrospective manner. Meanwhile, by using this mouse tool, we will be actively testing a few top hits from an in vitro small molecule library screening to see whether these molecules can improve heart regeneration in vivo and we will continue to study the potential underlying molecular mechanisms. Undoubtedly, the discovery of new drugs will pave new avenues for clinically promoting heart regeneration.

If you are passionate in doing basic and/or translation research in the field of cardiovascular development and regeneration, feel free to contact me. Talent and self-motivated students, postdocs, and visiting scholars are always welcome!

Research/Clinical Keywords

Cardiology, cardiovascular development, heart regeneration, cardiomyocytes, trabeculation, compaction, congenital heart disease, cardiac morphogenesis, signaling pathways, epigenetics, stem cells, mouse, surgery, myocardial infarction and cell proliferation.

Highlighted Publications

Lin W*, Li D*#, Cheng L, Li L, Liu F, Hand NJ, Epstein JA# and Rader DJ#. Zn transporter Slc39a8 is essential for cardiac ventricular compaction. J Clin Invest. 2018 Feb 1;128(2):826-833. doi: 10.1172/JCI96993. Epub 2018 Jan 16. [*co-first author, #co-corresponding author]

Ramjee V*, Li D*, Manderfield LJ, Liu F, Engleka KA, Aghajanian H, Rodell CB, Lu W, Ho V, Wang T, Li L, Singh A, Cibi DM, Burdick JA, Olson EN, Jain R, Singh MK, Epstein JA. Epicardial Yap/Taz Orchestrate an Immune Suppressive Response following MI. J Clin Invest. 2017 Mar 1;127(3):899-911. doi: 10.1172/JCI88759. (*co-first author)

Li D, Takeda N, Jain R, Manderfield LJ, Liu F, Li L, Anderson SA, Epstein JA. Hopx distinguishes hippocampal from lateral ventricle neural stem cells. Stem Cell Res. 2015 Nov;15(3):522-9. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2015.09.015. Epub 2015 Oct 8. [cover image]

Jain R*, Li D*, Gupta M, Manderfield LJ, Ifkovits JL, Wang Q, Liu F, Liu Y, Poleshko A, Padmanabhan A, Raum JC, Li L, Morrisey EE, Lu MM, Won KJ, Epstein JA. Integration of Bmp and Wnt signaling by Hopx specifies commitment of cardiomyoblast. Science. 2015 Jun 26;348(6242):aaa6071. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa6071. [*co-first author, cover image, Faculty of 1000 selection]

Li D, Liu Y, Maruyama M, Zhu W, Chen H, Zhang W, Reuter S, Lin SF, Haneline LS, Field LJ, Chen PS, Shou W. Restrictive loss of plakoglobin in cardiomyocytes leads to arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. Hum Mol Genet. 2011 Dec 1;20(23):4582-96. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Li D, Hallett MA, Zhu W, Rubart-von der Lohe M, Liu Y, Yang Z, Chen H, Haneline LS, chan RJ, Schwartz RJ, Field LJ, Atkinson SJ, Shou W. Dishevelled associated activator of morphogenesis 1 (DAAM1) is required for heart morphogenesis. Development. 2011 Jan;138(2):303-15.

Awards and Affiliations

  • Member, American Heart Association, 2015 - present
  • AHA-Scientific Development Grant, 2017-2020