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Meet our 2024 LBF Fellow, Jian Li, PhD

The LBF Fellowship Fund is a program that was established in 2018 with a mission to fund the next generation of researchers in the pediatric brain cancer space. The goal of this program is to provide seed funding to recruit and retain young, talented researchers and clinicians who plan to dedicate their careers to improving the lives of children with pediatric brain cancer. In order to advance the field of pediatric brain cancer research we believe that it is vital to support the next generation of researchers and clinicians. We are thrilled to be funding the work of Jian Li, PhD at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. in 2024. Read below to learn more about our 2024 LBF Fellow and the work he is doing to advance research for pediatric brain cancer. 


 

Can you tell us a bit about what you do and your role at the Lab at Children’s National Hospital? I'm a staff scientist in Dr. Pei's lab. I started working here last July. My work mainly focuses on Medulloblastoma. Since the recurrence and metastasis tumors always have poor prognosis, we generated a mouse myc-amplified group3 tumor and mimicked the treatment on patients by treating the tumor-bearing mice with radiation and find mice developed recurrence and metastasis tumors. We are now generating CAR-T cells to target these tumors, and try to figure out the tumor microenvironment, and whether we could manipulate TME to enhance immunotherapy. My role is to lead the project, design, and conduct experiments, organize and interpret data, and write papers and grants.


What led you to specialize in pediatric brain cancer research/ treatment?

I believe cancer could be the biggest hazard to human health, now and in the future. Brain tumors are the deadliest childhood tumor.


Can you share a fun or interesting fact about yourself that people might not know?

Before I went to university, my dream was always to be a machine engineer and create machines like transformers. However, I ended up studying bioengineering at university and was fascinated by elegant tiny machines like ATP synthase, so I decided to continue my journey with these bio-machines.


What do you hope to do in the future?

I hope to develop therapeutics that can eventually eliminate cancer cells.



What continues to drive you to do this research in pediatric brain cancer research?

Knowing that my research could eventually help kids battling such a terrible disease. 

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