LI Kai
Associate Professor

Li Kai is currently an associate professor and doctoral tutor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Southern University of Science and Technology. He was selected as the 14th National Youth Thousand People Program. His research interests include the development of novel molecular probes and nanoprobes and their applications in cancer diagnosis and regenerative medicine. Dr. Li received his Ph.D. from the National University of Singapore in 2011. He has systematically studied the application of conjugated polymer nanoparticles as a novel fluorescent probe in biomedical applications and won the National Outstanding Self-financed International Scholarship. He then joined the Research Institute of Materials and Engineering of the Singapore Science and Technology Research Institute as a research scientist. In 2013, he was awarded the Young Scientists' Career Development Award by the Singapore Science and Technology Research Bureau. In 2015-2017, he joined the Stanford University School of Molecular Imaging Center as a visiting scholar for collaborative research. Dr. Li has many years of academic accumulation in related research fields. The development of new fluorescent nanoparticles and cell tracers has been reported by Nature magazine on the topic of 'The nanolight revolution is coming'. So far, 4 patents have been applied for PCT patents. 1 item, published more than 70 academic papers, and cited more than 6,500 times in academic journals including Nature, Science Translational Medicine, Chemical Reviews, Chemical Society Reviews, including more than 100 papers in a single article. The current H-index is 42.


1999-2003 School of Materials Science and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology Bachelor
2004-2006 Master of Polymer Engineering, Chungnam National University
2008-2011 Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences, National University of Singapore


work experience
2018-present Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology
2015-2017 Visiting Scholar, Molecular Imaging Center, Stanford University School of Medicine
2011-2018 Research Institute of Materials Engineering, Singapore Research Bureau Research Scientist, PI


Honors and rewards
2018 The 14th National Youth Thousand Talents Program
2016 World Molecular Imaging Conference Travel Award
2015 Singapore Finnish Science and Technology Research Bureau International Fellowship
2013 Singapore Institute of Science and Technology Young Researcher Career Development Award
2011 Ministry of Education Excellent Self-financed International Student Scholarship
2008 National University of Singapore President Scholarship
2004 Korea Science and Technology Foundation Excellent Foreign Student Scholarship
2003 Excellent graduates of colleges and universities in Beijing


SCI papers

1. Jen-Shyang Ni,† Xun Zhang,† Guang Yang, Tianyi Kang, Xiangwei Lin, Menglei Zha, Yaxi Li, Lidai Wang, Kai Li*. Photoinduced nonadiabatic decay-guided molecularmotor triggers effective photothermal conversion for hyperthermia cancer therapy. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, doi: 10.1002/ange.202002516 (†contributed equally).

2. Jen-Shyang Ni,† Tianliang Min,† Yaxi Li, Menglei Zha, Pengfei Zhang, Chun Loong Ho, Kai Li.* Planar AIEgens with Enhanced Solid-State Luminescence and ROS-Generation for Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria Treatment. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, doi: 10.1002/anie.202001103 (†contributed equally).

3. Jen-Shyang Ni,† Yaxi Li,† Wentong Yue, Bin Liu,* Kai Li.* Nanoparticle-based cell trackers for biomedical applications. Theranostics 2020, 10, 1923-1947. (†contributed equally).

4. Qiyao Li,† Ying Li,† Tianliang Min,† Junyi Gong, Lili Du, David Lee Phillips, Junkai Liu, Jacky W. Y. Lam, Herman H. Y. Sung, Ian D. Williams, Ryan T. K. Kwok, Chun Loong Ho, Kai Li, Jianguo Wang,* Ben Zhong Tang.* Time‐dependent photodynamic therapy for multiple targets: a highly efficient AIE‐active photosensitizer for selective bacterial elimination and cancer cell ablation. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, doi: 10.1002/anie.201909706 (†contributed equally).

5. Huaxiao Yang,* Xulei Qin, Huiyuan Wang, Xin Zhao, Yonggang Liu, Hung-Ta Wo, Chun Liu, Masataka Nishiga, Haodong Chen, Jing Ge, Nazish Sayed, Oscar J. Abilez, Dan Ding, Sarah C. Heilshorn, Kai Li.* An in vivo miRNA delivery system for restoring infarcted myocardium. ACS Nano 2019, 13, 9880-9894.

6. Xulei Qin, Haodong Chen, Huaxiao Yang, Haodi Wu, Xin Zhao, Huiyuan Wang, Tony Chour, Evgenios Neofytou, Dan Ding, Heike Daldrup-Link, Sarah C. Heilshorn, Kai Li,* Joseph C. Wu,* Photoacoustic imaging of embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes in living hearts with ultrasensitive semiconducting polymer nanoparticles. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2018, 28, 1704939.
7. Heqi Gao, Xiaoyan Zhang, Chao Chen, Kai Li,* Dan Ding.* Unity makes strength: how aggregation-induced emission luminogens advance the biomedical field. Adv. Biosys. 2018, 2, 1800074 (Invited Review).
8. Kai Li,* Hossein Nejadnik, Heike E. Daldrup-Link,* Next generation superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for cancer theranostics. Drug Discov. Today 2017, 22, 1421-1429 (Invited Review).
9. Guorui Jin, Guangxue Feng, Wei Qin, Ben Zhong Tang, Bin Liu,* Kai Li,* Multifunctional organic nanoparticles with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) characteristics for targeted photodynamic therapy and RNA interference therapy. Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 2752-2755 (*corresponding author).
10. Guorui Jin, Duo Mao, Pingqiang Cai, Rongrong Liu, Nikodem Tomczak, Jie Liu, Xiaodong Chen, Deling Kong, Dan Ding,* Bin Liu,* Kai Li,* Conjugated polymer nanodots as ultrastable long-term trackers to understand mesenchymal stem cell therapy in skin regeneration. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2015, 25, 4263-4273 (Frontispiece Story).
11. Jie Liu, Kai Li,* Bin Liu,* Far-red/near-infrared conjugated polymer nanoparticles for long-term in-situ monitoring of liver tumor growth. Adv. Sci. 2015, 2, 1500008.
12. Kai Li, Bin Liu, Polymer-encapsulated organic nanoparticles for fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2014, 43, 6570-6597.
13. Dan Ding,† Duo Mao,† Kai Li,† Xiaomin Wang, Wei Qin, Rongrong Liu, David Shunzhong Chiam, Nikodem Tomczak, Zhimou Yang, Ben Zhong Tang, Deling Kong, Bin Liu (†contributed equally), Precise and long-term tracking of adipose-derived stem cells and their regenerative capacity via superb bright and stable organic nanodots. ACS Nano 2014, 8, 12620-12631.
14. Wei Qin,† Kai Li,† Guangxue Feng, Min Li, Zhiyong Yang, Bin Liu, Ben Zhong Tang, Bright and photostable organic fluorescent dots with aggregation-induced emission characteristics for noninvasive long-term cell imaging. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2014, 24, 635-643 (†contributed equally).
15. Guangxue Feng,† Kai Li,† Jie Liu, Dan Ding, Bin Liu, Bright single-chain conjugated polymer dots embedded nanoparticles for long-term cell tracing and imaging. Small 2014, 10, 1212-1219 (†contributed equally).
16. Kai Li, Wei Qin, Dan Ding, Nikodem Tomczak, Junlong Geng, Rongrong Liu, Jianzhao Liu, Xinhai Zhang, Hongyu Liu, Bin Liu, Ben Zhong Tang, Photostable fluorescent organic dots with aggregation-induced emission (AIE dots) for noninvasive long-term cell tracing. Sci. Rep. 2013, 3, 1150 (Highlighted by Nature News).
17. Kai Li, Zhenshu Zhu, Zujin Zhao, Nikodem Tomczak, Pingqiang Cai, Rongrong Liu, Jie Liu, Wei Qin, Yong Hu, Xiaodong Chen, Ben Zhong Tang, Bin Liu, Organic dots with aggregation-induced emission (AIE dots) characteristics for dual-color cell tracing. Chem. Mater. 2013, 25, 4181-4187.
18. Kai Li, Dan Ding, Da Huo, Kan-Yi Pu, Ngo Nguyen Phuong Thao, Yong Hu, Zhi Li, Bin Liu, Conjugated polymer based nanoparticles as dual-modal probes for targeted in vivo fluorescence and magnetic resonance imaging. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2012, 22, 3107-3115.
19. Kai Li, Yutao Liu, Kan-Yi Pu, Si-Shen Feng, Ruoyu Zhan, Bin Liu, Polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes-containing conjugated polymer loaded PLGA nanoparticles with Trastuzumab (Herceptin) functionalization for HER2-positive cancer cell detection. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2011, 21, 287-294 (Inside Front Cover Story).
20. Kai Li, Jie Pan, Si-Shen Feng, Arthur Wenqing Wu, Kan-Yi Pu, Yutao Liu, Bin Liu, Generic strategy of preparing fluorescent conjugated polymer-loaded poly(dl-lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles for targeted cell imaging. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2009, 19, 3535-3542 (Frontispiece Story).