The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

Hojun Li, MD, PhD

Hojun Li, MD, PhD, Charles W. (1955) and Jennifer C. Johnson Clinical Investigator

Charles W. (1955) and Jennifer C. Johnson Clinical Investigator

KI Research Areas of Focus:
Personalized Medicine

"Dr. Li’s research is focused on how blood cells are normally formed, and how this process goes awry during the development of blood cancers (leukemia). His laboratory studies the biology of pre-cancerous blood-forming cells in children and adults that have a high risk of leukemia, and aims to develop novel treatments that will prevent blood cancers in these patients."

Dr. Li earned his MD, and PhD in cell and molecular biology, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2011-12. His thesis work, in a mouse model of hemophilia, was the first to demonstrate that genome editing can be achieved in vivo with sufficient efficiency to correct an animal model of disease. Since then, he has completed his internship, residency, and fellowship in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Li is an attending physician at the Dana Farber/Boston Children’s Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and is also an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In 2017 and 2018 he was a recipient of an American Society of Hematology (ASH) research fellowship, and was named a 2020 ASH Scholar. He also conducted postdoctoral research at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research with Harvey Lodish, Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at MIT. In 2019, Dr. Li became the Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Clinical Investigator at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.

Research Summary

Dr. Li’s research at the Koch Institute remains focused on basic hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell biology in both the physiologic and pathologic settings. He aims to develop clinically relevant approaches for both small molecule intervention in leukemia predisposition syndromes, and genetic correction of hematopoietic stem cells.

Selected Publications

1. Hojun Li, Anirudh Natarajan, Jideofor Ezike, M Inmaculada Barrasa, Yenthanh Le, Zoë A Feder, Huan Yang, Clement Ma, Styliani Markoulaki, Harvey F Lodish. Rate of Progression through a Continuum of Transit-Amplifying Progenitor Cell States Regulates Blood Cell Production. Developmental Cell, 2019, 49 (1), 118-129.

2. Hojun Li, Leslie A Benson, Lauren A Henderson, Isaac H Solomon, Alyssa L Kennedy, Ariane Soldatos, Bibiana Bielekova, Jennifer Murphy, Kimberly J Davies, Leslie E Lehmann, Michelle A Lee, Sanda Alexandrescu, Barbara A Degar, Mark P Gorman, Christine N Duncan. Central nervous system–restricted familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis responds to hematopoietic cell transplantation. Blood Advances, 2019, 3(4), 503-507.

3. Leslie A Benson, Hojun Li, Lauren A Henderson, Isaac H Solomon, Ariane Soldatos, Jennifer Murphy, Bibiana Bielekova, Alyssa L Kennedy, Michael J Rivkin, Kimberly J Davies, Amy P Hsu, Steven M Holland, William A Gahl, Robert P Sundel, Leslie E Lehmann, Michelle A Lee, Sanda Alexandrescu, Barbara A Degar, Christine N Duncan, Mark P Gorman. Pediatric CNS-isolated hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. Neurology-Neuroimmunology Neuroinflammation, 2019, 6(3), e560.

4. Isaac H Solomon, Hojun Li, Leslie A Benson, Lauren A Henderson, Barbara A Degar, Mark P Gorman, Christine N Duncan, Hart G Lidov, Sanda Alexandrescu. Histopathologic Correlates of Familial Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis Isolated to the Central Nervous System, Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology, Volume 77, Issue 12, December 2018, Pages 1079–1084.

5. Yvette Y Yien, Jiahai Shi, Caiyong Chen, Jesmine TM Cheung, Anthony S Grillo, Rishna Shrestha, Liangtao Li, Xuedi Zhang, Martin D Kafina, Paul D Kingsley, Matthew J King, Julien Ablain, Hojun Li, Leonard I Zon, James Palis, Martin D Burke, Daniel E Bauer, Stuart H Orkin, Carla M Koehler, John D Phillips, Jerry Kaplan, Diane M Ward, Harvey F Lodish, Barry H Paw. FAM210B is an erythropoietin target and regulates erythroid heme synthesis by controlling mitochondrial iron import and ferrochelatase activity. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2018, 293(51), 19797-19811.

6. Hojun Li, Harvey F Lodish, Colin A Sieff. Critical Issues in Diamond-Blackfan Anemia and Prospects for Novel Treatment. Hematology/Oncology Clinics, 2018, 32(4), 701-712.

7. Hojun Li, Jiahai Shi, Nai-Jia Huang, Novalia Pishesha, Anirudh Natarajan, Jennifer C Eng, Harvey F Lodish. Efficient CRISPR-Cas9 mediated gene disruption in primary erythroid progenitor cells. Haematologica, 2016, 101(6), e216-219.

8. Hojun Li, Virginia Haurigot,  Yannick Doyon, Tianjian Li, Sunnie Y Wong, Anand S Bhagwat, Nirav Malani, Xavier M Anguela, Rajiv Sharma, Lacramiora Ivanciu, Samuel L Murphy, Jonathan D Finn, Fayaz R Khazi, Shangzhen Zhou, David E Paschon, Edward J Rebar, Frederic D Bushman, Philip D Gregory, Michael C Holmes, Katherine A High. In vivo genome editing restores hemostasis in a mouse model of hemophilia. Nature, 2011, 475(7355), 217-221.

Contact Information

Hojun Li

room 76-361F
phone (617) 324-4404

Li Lab

room 76-317
phone (617) 258-5996