Wei Li, MD, PhD
I am a cardiovascular biologist and I have expertise in studying vascular biology, platelet biology and thrombosis, as well as heart failure. My current research is mainly focusing on exploring the role of thymidine phosphorylase (TYMP), also known as platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor, in the development of chronic diseases including atherosclerosis, thrombosis, and metabolic disorders. Our recent study published by Circulation Research revealed for the first time that TYMP is a signaling molecule and participates in platelet activation and enhances thrombosis. Most importantly, TYMP deficiency or inhibition of TYMP with small molecules do not cause bleeding side effect in mice. These exciting findings suggest that modulation of TYMP can potentially become a novel and systemically safe anti-platelet and anti-thrombotic therapy. Currently, I am exploring the detailed mechanisms regarding how TYMP affects platelet function and how it affects the development of other chronic diseases, including metabolic syndrome, non-alcohol fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes, as well as these diseased-condition associated high risk of thrombosis. In addition to modern cell biology and molecular biology techniques, my lab has established several animal models. These include, but are not limited to, intravital microscopy-based FeCl3-induced thrombosis models, guidewire-induced carotid artery injury model, abdominal aortic aneurysm model, and ischemia/reperfusion models. My long-term goal is to develop novel therapeutics for the life-threatening atherosclerotic and thrombotic cardiovascular diseases.