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Li Chai, MD

Dr. Li Chai is a physician scientist in the field of Transfusion Medicine. Dr. Chai manages the Transfusion Medicine Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. As an attending physician, she has both out-patient and in-patient responsibilities, including on-call duty, managing blood product usage; cellular product donations, such as hematopoietic stem cell and Car-T cell collections; procedures, including plasma and red cell exchange, transfusion, or apheresis emergencies; and consults regarding transfusion at the three Joint Program hospitals.

Dr. Chai’s academic career, from residency at Brown, fellowship training at Yale and almost 20 years as an independent investigator at Harvard, has focused on gene regulation and its application in stem cells and cancer, with contributions in both basic and translational research. Dr. Chai’s lab has made seminal discoveries on a stem cell factor and an oncofetal transcription factor, SALL4, in stem cells and cancer. SALL4 was first reported to be important in human development with mutations in SALL4 being linked to familial Duane-Radial Ray Syndrome (DDRS), which inspired her work on this gene. 

In last 2 decades, Dr. Chai has established a research program centered on SALL4 function, mechanism, structure, and targeting. Given its unique oncofetal expression pattern, she has led the pre-clinical work to prove the feasibility of targeting this stem cell factor and oncofetal protein in cancers, and its application in stem cell expansion. For these important studies and recognition of the scientific impact of this work, she has been awarded multiple federal (National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense) and non-federal funds, as well published our observations in respected academic journals, including NEJM, Nature Cell Biology, JCI, PNAS, Cancer Research, Science Advances, Blood, J Hematol Oncol., Oncogene, JBC and Cell Reports.

Pathologist and Principal Investigator, BWH;

Associate Professor of Pathology, HMS

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