Linxian Li

Dr. Linxian Li is a biomedical engineer with interdisciplinary expertise in organic chemistry, molecular biology, materials science, and bioengineering. He joined MWLC in September 2017.

Linxian Li, Assistant Professor at the Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine, Karolinska Institutet. Photo: Patrick Chan


Dr. Linxian Li is a biomedical engineer with interdisciplinary expertise in organic chemistry, molecular biology, materials science, and bioengineering. After obtaining his PhD degree at Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg in Germany, he pursued postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Committed to translate new materials for medical use, he focuses on developing biomaterials to deliver RNA therapeutics and engineering biointerfaces to control cell behavior. His work has resulted in over 20 publications including papers, patents and patent applications. These patents have been licensed to chemical and biotechnology companies, and several products that have been commercialized.


In molecular and cellular therapies, it is crucial that macromolecular drugs and stem cells are delivered into proper locations in vivo in order to execute their functions. However, the rational design of delivery systems is often laborious and inefficient, since the design criteria are difficult to define. Sitting at the interface of materials science and biotechnology, my research aims to develop novel delivery systems for molecular and cellular therapies. To accelerate this process, I have developed combinatorial methods that are capable of parallel synthesizing a large number of biomaterials, and fabricated microarrays as high-throughput screening tools to efficiently identify candidates. These efforts have led to an advanced system with great potential in gene therapy, drug testing, discovery, and tissue engineering applications. I continue to focus my efforts on elucidating the mechanism of molecular and cellular therapies, and translating new biomaterials for medical use.


In 2017, Dr. Li was among the first group of Chinese young researchers to receive the MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 Awards. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding innovators under the age of 35 around the globe whose superb technical work promises to shape the coming decades. He was listed as a pioneer for exploring the therapeutic potentials of human messenger RNA (mRNA) and for providing innovative tools to accelerate the development of novel biomaterials for global healthcare challenges.

Group Members

Name Title/Position
Linxian Li Assistant Professor
Hui Huang Postdoctoral Researcher
Balakrishna Moku Postdoctoral Researcher
Jiabing Ran Postdoctoral Researcher
Callum Stewart Postdoctoral Researcher
Lu Wang Postdoctoral Researcher
Yike Yang Postdoctoral Researcher
Iris Long Research Assistant

Previous lab members

Bin Zheng | Postdoctoral Researcher

Fei Li | Postdoctoral Researcher

Jinsong Han | Postdoctoral Researcher

Gaofeng Zha | Postdoctoral Researcher

Selected Publications

Lei Miao, Linxian Li, Yuxuan Huang, Derfogail Delcassian, Jasdave Chahal, Jinsong Han, Yunhua Shi, Kaitlyn Sadtler, Wenting Gao, Jiaqi Lin, Joshua C. Doloff, Robert Langer, and Daniel G. Anderson. Delivery of mRNA vaccines with heterocyclic lipids increases anti-tumor efficacy by STING-mediated immune cell activation. Nature Biotechnology. 2019. Accepted.

Fei Li, Jinsong Han, Tian Cao, William Lam, Baoer Fan, Wen Tang, Sijie Chen, Kin Lam Fok* and Linxian Li*: Design of self-assembly dipeptide hydrogels and machine learning via their chemical features. PNAS. 2019, 116:11259-11264. 

Xin Du, Junsheng Li, Alexander Welle, Linxian Li*, Wenqian Feng, Pavel A. Levkin*. Reversible and rewritable surface functionalization and patterning via photodynamic disulfide exchange. Advanced Materials. 2015, 27:4997-5001.

co-first author; * corresponding author