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College of Pharmacy

Faculty and Staff

Yangmei Li, Ph.D.

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences (DDBS)
College of Pharmacy
Phone: 803-777-0849
Office: College of Pharmacy
715 Sumter Street - CLS 617C
Columbia, SC 29208
Yangmei Li portrait


Ph.D.  Chemistry, Zhejiang University, China, 2005

Postdoctoral Researcher  Chemistry, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, 2006-2009

Research Interests

Li's research focuses on the design and synthesis of novel chemical compounds for use in biological systems. She is exploring the potential therapeutic applications of the compounds for the treatment of drug abuse, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and infectious diseases.

Li's primary research interest is to develop a safer and more potent pain modulator without the undesired side effects such as respiratory depression, dependence, and addiction. Her laboratory is interested in developing the G protein-biased ligands that only engage the G protein signaling pathway without activating β-arrestins at the opioid receptors. Such ligand will produce more potent and safer analgesia than the traditional analgesics. They have developed novel cyclic peptide-based and heterocycle-based G protein-biased ligands at the mu-opioid receptor. They are conducting medicinal chemistry research to improve their agonist activity and degree of bias at the receptor. In close collaboration with neurobiologists and neuropharmacologists, they are prepared to demonstrate their in vitro and in vivo biological activities in pain management, including prolonged and neuropathic pain. 

Other medicinal chemistry research projects are conducted in Li's laboratory as well; multiple hits have been designed and identified including novel mutant KRas inhibitors for cancer therapy, novel TFEB activators for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, and novel GyrB inhibitors for infectious diseases. To develop cell permeable macrocycles as potential cancer therapy targeting protein-protein interactions, her laboratory is also interested in developing NMR methods to study the conformations of macrocycles in solution as well as in membrane-mimicking environment, and applying our findings to design new molecules.


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