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Personal profile


Professor Jian Li (PhD 2002) is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and Head of the Antimicrobial Systems Pharmacology Laboratory at the Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University. He is a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher in Pharmacology & Toxicology (2015 - 2017). Dr Li has an internationally recognised track record in the pharmacology of polymyxins and the discovery of novel, safer polymyxins. He has 375 publications (including 290 on polymyxins alone) with 20,349 citations and an h-index of 71. Dr Li is an Editor of the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents and an Associate Editor of BMC Microbiology and Frontiers in Microbiology. He is an invited reviewer for 181 international journals and grant/fellowship applications for the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC) and 18 international funding bodies. His research is funded by NIH, NHMRC, ARC, pharmaceutical companies and other grant bodies. Dr Li has received numerous awards, including Australian Leadership Award (2013), Australian National Health and Medical Research Council’s Ten of the Best Research Projects (2014) and Australian Academy of Science Jacques Miller Medal (2017).

Monash teaching commitment

Supervisor of PhD, Masters and Honours students

Research interests

Antibiotics are a cornerstone of modern medicine and over the last century have significantly decreased mortality worldwide. Unfortunately, resistance to these ‘magic bullets’ has become one of the greatest threats to human health that the world faces, now and in the coming decades. If proactive solutions are not found to prevent widespread antibiotic resistance, it is estimated that by 2050 ~10 million people per year will die of infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged all government sectors and society to act on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In 2017, multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniaePseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii were identified by WHO as the highest priority pathogens, which require urgent attention for the discovery of novel antibiotics. Over the last decade, ‘old’ polymyxins are increasingly used as the last defence against these Gram-negative ‘superbugs’ and unfortunately, resistance to polymyxins has been increasingly reported.  As no new antibiotics will be available for Gram-negative ‘superbugs’ in the near future, it is crucial to optimise the clinical use of current antibiotics and develop novel therapies.

Research area keywords

  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Drug Discovery
  • Antimicrobial Pharmacology
  • Systems Pharmacology
  • Computational Biology
  • Bioinformatics
  • Polymyxin
  • Colistin
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Acinetobacter baumannii
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa


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