Rong Li is a molecular cell biologist and biophysicist who studies cellular dynamics in space, time, and adaptation, focusing on understanding how eukaryotic cells establish their distinct morphology and organization in order to carry out their specialized functions. Her research is important for developing a fundamental understanding of cancer and aging-related degeneration diseases, and opens up potential treatment options for conditions in which drug resistance is a problem.
Studying a variety of topics in cell dynamics, including actin cytoskeleton regulation, cell polarity, cell division, cell cycle control, and aneuploidy and cellular evolution, Li explores how the ability to adapt to a changing environment is built into cellular systems, and how that ability gives rise to a cell’s properties. She investigates how cells generate patterns through self-organization in response to environmental signals, accomplish division or motility through coordinated structural rearrangements and force production. Li also studies how cells evolve innovative solutions to maintain vitality and functionality when challenged with hostile environments or genetic disruptions.
Li joined Johns Hopkins University as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in 2015 from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research.