Min Li, Ph.D.

Scientific Focus Areas: Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Structural Biology

Professional Experience

  • Staff Scientist, NIDDK, NIH, 2007-present
  • Research Fellow, NIDDK, NIH, 2004-2006
  • Research Associate, Loyola University Medical Center, 2002-2004
  • Visiting Fellow, NIDDK, NIH, 2000-2002
  • Ph.D., Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, 1999

Research Goal

The purpose of my research is to understand the mechanism of HIV-1 DNA integration and anti-integrase drug resistance, and to improve treatment and prevention of AIDS.

Current Research

HIV-1 integrase (IN) plays a key role in the viral life cycle, catalyzing the viral DNA insertion into the genome of the host cell. DNA Integration is essential for HIV replication, therefor, IN is an important therapeutic target in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Much is known about the biochemical steps of HIV DNA cutting and joining catalysis, but in order to understand the detailed mechanisms of inhibitors and mutations that confer resistance, we still need the high-resolution structures of the critical nucleoprotein intermediates. Understanding of the details of DNA integration pathway and integrase function within the context of a preintegration complex will facilitate the development of new class antiretroviral compounds.

Applying our Research

Approximately 20 years of basic research on integrase has led one anti-HIV-1 drug targeting integrase onto the market; there are more in the pipeline. The continued study of HIV integration will facilitate the development of a new class of therapeutic integrase inhibitors against AIDS.

Need for Further Study

Much is known about the biochemical mechanisms of HIV DNA cutting and joining catalysis, but in order to understand the detailed mechanisms of inhibitors and mutations that confer resistance, we still need the high-resolution structures of the nucleoprotein intermediates. The biochemistry details of the integration pathway and integrase function within the context of a preintegration complex will facilitate the development of new class antiretroviral compounds.

Research in Plain Language

I study how the virus that causes AIDS is able to invade a human cell and insert its genetic code into the host’s genome.

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