Staff Profile: Shuaizhang Li

Shuaizhang Li
Shuaizhang Li, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

Division of Preclinical Innovation
Early Translation Branch (Contractor)

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

National Institutes of Health

Email Shuaizhang Li


Shuaizhang Li is a research scientist in biology in the Early Translation Branch within NCATS’ Division of Preclinical Innovation, where he focuses on developing and optimizing biochemical and cell-based assays for antivirals. Li has more than 8 years of experience in cell-based and biochemical assay development and high-throughput and high-content screening. He works with Natalia J. Martinez, Ph.D., to conduct antiviral projects within the Antiviral Program for Pandemics.

Prior to joining NCATS, Li was a research fellow in the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Medicine. His work focused on developing high-throughput and high-content assays for identifying neuroprotective small molecules for patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 using human ganglion neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). At JHU, he learned gene editing and stable cell line development using CRISPR, neuron differentiation using iPSC, and organoid formation and differentiation. Before joining JHU, Li was a postdoctoral fellow in NCATS’ Toxicology in the 21st Century program, where he worked with Menghang Xia, Ph.D., and gained experience in designing, optimizing, validating and automating high-throughput, cell-based and biochemical assays for toxicology and preclinical study. He evaluated multiple new models for assay development, including co-culture models for angiogenesis and 3-D models for neurotoxicity.

Li received his doctorate in biology from the China Agricultural University in Beijing, China.

Research Topics

Li’s research focuses on cell-based and biochemical assay development, high-throughput drug repurposing screens, lead compound identification, and preclinical drug development for antivirals. He also is interested in the development of 3-D models and iPSC-derived neurons for evaluating small molecules that can potentially treat cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.

Selected Publications

  1. Profiling the Tox21 Chemical Collection for Acetylcholinesterase Inhibition
  2. Evaluation of Chemical Compounds That Inhibit Neurite Outgrowth Using GFP-Labeled iPSC-Derived Human Neurons
  3. Review of High-Content Screening Applications in Toxicology
  4. Identification of Angiogenesis Inhibitors Using a Co-Culture Cell Model in a High-Content and High-Throughput Platform
  5. Development and Application of a Novel Bioassay System for Dioxin Determination and Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Activation Evaluation in Ambient-Air Samples