Dr. Qiao Li


Dr. Qiao Li
Associate Professor/Principal Investigator, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Room: Faculty of Medicine, Roger Guindon, 2537
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 8491 (Office) / 8488 (Lab)
Work E-mail: Qiao.Li@uOttawa.ca


Areas of Interest and Expertise

Chromatin dynamics and nuclear receptor signaling in stem cell differentiation

We study how nuclear receptor signaling and chromatin dynamics converge to regulate stem cell differentiation using OMICS approaches. Our goal is to develop potential stem cell-based therapies for the treatment of many devastating diseases, including neuromuscular and cardiovascular diseases.

Molecular mechanisms of p300 regulation

Transcriptional coactivator p300 contains an intrinsic histone acetyltransferase activity and is required for a broad array of cellular processes. We decipher the molecular mechanisms by which p300 is regulated with respect to post-translational modification, cellular trafficking and spatial distribution.

Molecular basis for histone deacetylase inhibitor as cancer therapeutics

Among current cancer therapeutics, histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors present great promise, as they induce tumor-selective apoptosis. However, the molecular mechanisms of their action and therapeutic potentials in different type of cancers are still unclear. We determine the molecular signatures of HDAC inhibitors as cancer therapeutics to design better strategies for individualized cancer therapies.


  • Khilji S, Hamed M, Chen J, Li Q. Dissecting myogenin-mediated retinoid X receptor signaling in myogenic differentiation. Communications Biology. 2020. 3: 315.
  • Chen J, Li Q. Promoting primary myoblast differentiation through retinoid X receptor signaling. Methods in Molecular Biology - Springer. 2019. 2019: 123-128.
  • Chen J, Liang H, Gao A, Li Q. Generation of skeletal myocytes from embryonic stem cells through nuclear receptor signaling. Methods in Molecular Biology - Springer. 2019. 1966: 247-252.
  • Khilji S, Hamed M, Chen J, Li Q. Loci-specific histone acetylation profiles associated with transcriptional coactovator p300 during early myoblast differentiation. Epigenetics. 2018. 13: 642-654.
  • Hamed M, Khilji S, Dixon K, Blais A, Ioshikhes I, Chen J, Li QInsights into interplay between rexinoid signaling and myogenic regulatory factor-associated chromatin state in myogenic differentiation. Nucleic Acids Research. 2017. 45: 11236-1124845
  • Dixon K, Chen J, Li Q. Gene Expression Profiling Discerns Molecular Pathways Elicited by Ligand Signaling to Enhance the Specification of Embryonic Stem Cells into Skeletal Muscle Lineage. Cell & Bioscience. 2017. 7: 23.
  • Chen J, Li QRetinoic acid receptor signaling in the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into skeletal muscle lineage. Pluripotent Stem Cells – From the Bench to the Clinic. 2016. 427-444
  • AlSudais H, Aabed K, Nicola W, Dixon K, Chen J, Li QRetinoid X receptor-selective signaling in the regulation of Akt/protein kinase B isoform-specific expression. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2016. 291: 3090-3099.
  • Chen J, Li QImplication of retinoic acid receptor selective signaling in myogenic differentiation. Scientific Reports. 2016. 6: 18856.
  • Chen J, Wang Y, Hamed M, Lacroix N, Li QMolecular basis for the regulation of transcriptional coactivator p300 in myogenic differentiation. Scientific Reports. 2015. 5: 13727.
  • Li Q, Foote M, Chen J. Effects of histone deacetylase inhibitor valproic acid on skeletal myocyte development. Scientific Reports. 2014. 4: 7207.
  • Yilbas A, Hamilton A, Wang Y, Mach HLacroix N, Davis, DR, Chen J, Li QActivation of GATA4 gene expression at the early stage of cardiac specification. Frontiers in Chemistry. 2014. 2: 12
  • Chen J, Li QEnhancing myogenic differentiation of pluripotent stem cells with small molecule inducers. Cell & Bioscience. 2013. 3: 40.
  • Dong S, Jia C, Zhang S, Fan G, Li Y, Shan P, Sun L, Xiao W, Li L, Zheng Y, Liu J, Wei H, Hu C, Zhang W, Chin YE, Zhai Q, Li Q, Liu J, Jia F, Mo Q, Edwards DP, Huang S, Chan L, O'Malley BW, Li X, Wang C. The REGγ proteasome regulates hepatic lipid metabolism through inhibition of autophagy. Cell Metabolism. 2013. 18: 380-91.
  • Li Q, Le May M, Lacroix N, Chen J. Induction of Pax3 gene expression impedes cardiac differentiation.Scientific Reports. 2013. 3: 2498.
  • Hamed M, Khilji S, Chen J, Li QStepwise acetyltransferase association and histone acetylation at the Myod1 locus during myogenic differentiation. Scientific Reports. 2013. 3: 2390.
  • Le May M, Li QAnalysis of p300 occupancy at the early stage of stem cell differentiation by chromatin immunoprecipitation, Methods in Molecular Biology - Springer. 2013. 977: 315-321.
  • Chen J, Li QUse of histone deacetylase inhibitors to examine the roles of bromodomain and histone acetylation in p300-dependent gene expression, Methods in Molecular Biology - Springer. 2013. 977: 353-357.
  • Chen J, Lacroix N, Li QHistone deacetylase inhibitor valproic acid as a small molecule inducer to direct the differentiation of pluripotent stem cellsMethods in Molecular Biology - Springer. 2013. 977: 359-363.
  • Le May M, Li QRetinoid X receptor signaling in the specification of skeletal muscle lineage, Skeletal Muscle – from myogenesis to clinical relations. 2012. 49-72.
  • Francetic T, Le May MHamed M, Mach H, Meyers D, Cole PA, Chen J, Li QRegulation of Myf5 early enhancer by histone acetyltransferase p300 during stem cell differentiation. Molecular Biology. 2012. 1: 103. doi: 10.4172/ 2168-9547.1000103.
  • Hu C, Zhang S, Gao X, Gao XJ, Xu X, Lv Y, Zhang Y, Zhu Z, Zhang C, Li Q, Wong J, Cui Y, Zhang W, Ma L, Wang C. Roles of Kruppel-associated Box (KRAB)-associated Co-repressor KAP1 Ser-473 Phosphorylation in DNA Damage Response. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2012. 287: 18937-18952.
  • Chen J, Li Q. Life and death of transcriptional c-oactivator p300. Epigenetics. 2011. 6: 957-961 (Cover of the Issue).
  • Le May MMach HLacroix N, Hou C, Chen J, Li QContribution of retinoid X receptor signaling to the specification of skeletal muscle lineage. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2011. 286: 26806-26212.
  • Francetic T, Li QSkeletal myogenesis and Myf5 activation. Transcription. 2011. 2: 109-114 (Issue Highlight).
  • Higazi A, Abed M, Chen J, Li Q. Promoter context determines the role of proteasome in ligand-dependent occupancy of retinoic acid responsive elements. Epigenetics. 2011. 6: 202-211. 
  • Chen J, Ghazawi FM, Li QInterplay of bromodomain and histone acetylation in the regulation of p300-dependent genes. Epigenetics. 2010. 5: 509-515. 
  • St-Germain JR, Chen J, Li Q. Involvement of PML nuclear bodies in CBP degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathways. Epigenetics. 2008. 3: 342-349 (Issue Highlight).
  • Chen J, Halappanavar S, Th’ng JPT, Li Q. Ubiquitin-dependent deposition of transcriptional coactivator p300 in cytoplasmic inclusion bodies. Epigenetics. 2007. 2: 92-99 (Issue Highlight).
  • Chen J, Ghazawi FM, Bakkar W, Li Q. Valproic acid and butyrate induce apoptosis in human cancer cells through inhibition of gene expression of Akt/protein kinase B. Molecular Cancer. 2006. 5: 71.
  • Chen J, St-Germain JR, Li Q. B56 regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 2A mediates valproic acid-induced p300 degradation. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 2005. 25: 525-532.
  • Chen J, Halappanavar SS, St-Germain JR, Tsang BK, Li Q. Role of Akt/protein kinase B in the activity of transcriptional coactivator p300. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. 2004. 61: 1675-1683.

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