The Ohio State University | Oncology Update

Renowned Immunologist Zihai Li, MD, PhD, Joins Ohio State

Zihai Li MD PhDZihai Li, MD, PhD, a renowned medical oncologist and immunologist in the ever-expanding field of cancer immunotherapy, has accepted the position as the founding director of the new Institute for Immuno-Oncology (IIO) at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

Li, whose appointment is effective April 1, will help Ohio State's cancer program build upon its already strong endeavors in immunotherapy, which is widely considered to be the next frontier in cancer treatment and is among our top research priorities.

An elected member of The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and The Association of American Physicians (AAP), Li comes to Ohio State from the Medical University of South Carolina, where he is a tenured professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, and co-leader of the Cancer Immunology Program at the Hollings Cancer Center.

With primary interests in the mechanisms of immune regulation in cancer, Li's research team has made seminal contributions to understanding the immunological properties of heat shock proteins in cancer immunotherapy and immune tolerance. His current interests focus on developing better immunotherapeutics against cancer by reprogramming the tumor microenvironment, including regulatory T cells, thrombocytes and unfolded protein response. His work is supported by The National Institutes of Health, including a program project grant from the National Cancer Institute and four R01s for which he is principal investigator.

The OSUCCC – James has a superb track record in cancer immunology research that features groundbreaking preclinical, translational and clinical studies. But much remains to be discovered and translated to individualized patient care. The new IIO, directed by Li and fortified by the work of other immunology experts, will help bring more hope to cancer patients in need of curative therapies.

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