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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, 2022). Dr Li has an internationally recognised track record in the pharmacology of polymyxins and the discovery of novel, safer antimicrobial peptides. He has 424 publications (including 328 on polymyxins alone) with 26,721 citations and an h-index of 79. His team has developed a novel lipopeptide drug QPX9003 from concept into the clinic to target MDR Gram-negative pathogens (NIH/NIAID). Phase-I clinical trials are underway in the USA and clinical data are featured in several presentations at the ID Week Meeting in Washington, DC (2022). The majority of modern polymyxin pharmacology data are reported by his group. His research has led to the first dosing guidelines of polymyxins which have been adopted worldwide and have significantly improved clinical practice. Dr Li's research is funded by the NIH, NHMRC, ARC, pharmaceutical companies and other grant bodies. Dr Li is Editor-in-Chief of The International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents and an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Microbiology. He is an invited reviewer for 190 international journals and grant/fellowship applications for the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC) and 26 international funding bodies (e.g. NIH/NIAID). 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.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

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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