Director

Dr. Dean Y. Li is the H.A., and Edna Benning Endowed Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the University of Utah Molecular Medicine (U2M2) Program and the MD/PhD Program. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his MD/PhD from Washington University in St. Louis. He began his career at the University of Utah in 1994 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Cardiology. He received his first faculty appointment in 1996 which launched his career at the University of Utah. As is Associate Vice President for Research and Chief Scientific Officer for University of Utah Health Sciences, and Vice Dean for Research for the School of Medicine. Dr. Li is responsible for oversight of the research enterprise in the health sciences, including development and realization of a strategic plan for research. As Chief Scientific Officer, he is responsible for coordinating and maximizing the University’s health system investment in translational, clinical, and health care research leading to new treatments and health system innovations for patients.

Dr. Li is the recipient of multiple honors including the Established Investigator Award by the American Heart Association and Clinical Scientist Award in Translation Medicine from the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation and recently in May of 2014, he is the recipient of the Mark Brothers Award from Indiana University. In 2009 he received a Clinical Faculty Teaching Award and in 2010 he was inducted to the American Association of Physicians.

Dr. Li is a distinguished scientist and is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking research in vascular development and disease. His lab has developed mouse models for three human vascular diseases: supravalvular stenosis, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, and cerebral cavernous malformations. Through studying these diseases, he has identified a blood vessel protein that reversed or prevented age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy in mouse models. He also identified a family of proteins that accelerated blood vessel growth in ischemic mice and restored blood vessel growth in diabetic mice. Those discoveries have opened the door to developing drug therapies to treat those diseases.

Dr. Li has served as a reviewer for the AHA and for several study sections of the NIH. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigators. He is the author of multiple manuscripts published in peer reviewed journals including Science and Nature. He is a current member of the AHA and NAVBO, co-founder of Hydra Bioscience, Navigen and Recursion Pharmaceuticals. His broad experiences and expertise in bench science, clinical medicine and biotechnology, combined with his success as a leader and mentor enable him to have a major impact on the School of Medicine’s mission to advance science and translate discoveries into clinical applications and better health care for patients.