Dr. Ren-Ke Li is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Toronto. Dr. Li is also a Senior Scientist at the Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network working in the field of stem cell transplantation and tissue engineering.
Dr. Li completed his M.D. at Harbin Medical University in China and his Ph.D. in Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He became an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in 1993 and was promoted to Full Professor in 2002. He is the recipient of the Canada Research Chair in Cardiac Regeneration (Tier 1) of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and was a Career Investigator of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Dr. Li has been on the forefront in the field of cell transplantation and tissue engineering. In 1996, he published the first demonstration that cells transplanted into myocardial scar tissue survived, differentiated into muscle tissue, and improved heart function. His research group has defined optimal cell types for transplantation, and described the optimal conditions under which the transplanted cells can achieve the most efficient repair. Currently, his research group is attempting to determine the mechanisms by which transplanted cells exert their beneficial effects by rejuvenation of aged stem cells and aged recipients. Clarifying these mechanisms will allow them to develop the “next generation” of cell therapy for restoration of heart function of aged patients.
Dr. Li has published 228 peer-reviewed papers and he has been invited to contribute to several commentaries and viewpoint articles and is an international opinion leader in his field.