Vivian Li

Vivian obtained her PhD at the University of Hong Kong Department of Pathology in 2008, where she researched the molecular mechanisms of human gut development and tumour formation.

She received the Gold Medal Prize for her PhD thesis. After completing her PhD study, Vivian was funded by the Croucher Foundation Fellowship to pursue her post-doctoral research training at the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands. Her work focused on the Wnt pathway, a network of molecules that help stem cells grow and multiply.

Vivian established her lab in 2013 at the MRC NIMR, which has now become part of the Francis Crick Institute. Vivian and her team in the Stem Cell and Cancer Biology Laboratory are studying the bowel to understand the role of stem cells in the healthy organ and what goes wrong when cancer develops. Using innovative cell biology and gene editing techniques, the team are growing mini-organs for use in organ transplants, or for testing new drugs for bowel cancer. She received the Future Leaders in Cancer Research Prize in 2018 from Cancer Research UK for her pioneering work on bowel cancer.