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Leanne Li, MD, PhD

Group Leader
The Francis Crick Institute

London, UK

Leanne Li leads the Cancer Neuroscience Lab at the Francis Crick Institute, London. She was trained as an MD from National Taiwan University, Taiwan and received a PhD in cancer biology from EPFL, Switzerland, under the tutelage of Dr. Douglas Hanahan. She then joined Dr. Tyler Jacks’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow at the Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer Research, MIT.

Her research interest has been focused on elucidating fundamental mechanisms of cancer progression using genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs). Her graduate research demonstrated that certain cancers hijack classical neuronal signaling pathways to respond to tumor microenvironmental cues, hence promoting tumor progression. Her postdoctoral research on small cell lung cancer, one of the most lethal cancers with few treatment options, identified novel therapeutic targets and revealed how cancer cell intrinsic electrical activity directly promotes tumor progression.

She joined the Francis Crick Institute in 2020 to start her own lab, seeking to illuminate the complex interaction between cancer and the nervous system using GEMMs. Her work has been recognized by multiple awards, including Junior Debiopharm Life Sciences Award, Pfizer Research Award, Lung Cancer Research Foundation Award, ERC Starting Grant, etc.

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