Qiuhong Li, Ph.D.

Dr. LiAcademic Title

Associate Professor

Contact Information

(352) 392-0747 (office phone)
(352) 392-0744 (lab phone)




Dr. Li received her Ph. D in Molecular Genetics and Biology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Diabetic retinopathy remains the most frequent microvascular complications of diabetes mellitus, developing in almost all type 1 cases and in 60% type 2 cases over a 20-year period and is of the leading cause of severe vision loss in people under age of sixty.

Our research goal is to understand the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy and to develop more effective therapies for treatment of this condition, with a particular focus on the targeting ocular renin angiotensin system. The renin angiotensin system, as a fundamental regulator of cardiovascular homeostasis and a key contributor in cardiovascular diseases, is also produced locally in the eye. Funded by American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and NIH, our research projects include (1) to investigate the role and mechanisms of ocular renin angiotensin system in development and progression of diabetic retinopathy; (2) the protective role and mechanisms of recently established new axis of the renin angiotensin system: ACE2/Ang 1-7/Mas in diabetic retinopathy, using both gene-based and pharmacological approaches in animal models as well as in vitro studies.

Current Funding

  • NIH (R01 EY021752, Li) Ocular Renin Angiotensin System in Pathogenesis of Diabetic Retinopathy; 1/1/2012 – 12/31/2015
  • NIH RO1 (Grant/Raizada) Vascular Reparative Mechanism by ACE2/Ang-(1-7) in Diabetes; 7/1/2011 – 6/30/2016
  • American Diabetes Association (7-14-BS-115, Li) Oral delivery of bioencapsulated ACE2 and Ang1-7 for therapy of diabetic retinopathy; 2/1/2015 – 1/31/2018
  • BrightFocus Foundation (M2015178, Li) Ang-(1-7)/Mas Signaling in Aging Eye- Protective Mechanisms and Therapeutic Potential; 7/1/2015 – 6/30/2017
  • NIH (R01 EY024564, Li & Daniell) Oral therapy for diabetic retinopathy using ACE2/Ang1-7 bioencapsulated in plant cells; 9/1/2015 – 8/31/2019


  • P.K. Shil, K.C. Kwon, P. Zhu, A. Verma, H. Daniell, Q. Li. Oral Delivery of ACE2/Ang-(1-7) Bioencapsulated in Plant Cells Protects against Experimental Uveitis and Autoimmune Uveoretinitis. Mol Ther. 2014 Sep 17. doi: 10.1038/mt.2014.179. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25228068
  •  V. Shenoy, K.C. Kwon, A. Rathinasabapathy, S. Lin, G. Jin, C. Song, P. Shil, A. Nair, Y. Qi, Q. Li, J. Francis, M. J Katovich, H. Daniell and M. K Raizada,  Oral Delivery of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) or Angiotensin-(1-7) Bioencapsulated in Plant Cells Attenuates Pulmonary Hypertension and Associated Cardiac Dysfunction.  Hypertension. 2014 Sep 15. pii: HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.03871. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25225206.
  • W.W. Batenburg, A. Verma, Y. Wang, P. Zhu, M. van den Heuvel, R. van Veghel, A.H. J. Danser and  Q. Li. Combined renin inhibition/(pro)renin receptor blockade in diabetic retinopathy- A study in transgenic (mREN2)27 rats. PLoS One. 2014 Jun 26;9(6):e100954. PMID: 24968134.
  • Y. Qiu, P. K. Shil, P. Zhu, H. Yang, B. Lei and Q. Li. Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) Activator DIZE Ameliorates Endotoxin-Induced Uveitis in Mice. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 May 22; 55(6):3809-18. PMID: 24854854.
  • H. Yang,Y. Qiu,T.  Lin,Y. Yang,P. Yang,Q. Li,B. Lei. Activation of Liver X Receptor with the agonist TO901317 Reduces Ocular Inflammation in Experimental Autoimmune Uveitis.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Apr 28; 55(4):2795-804. PMID: 24699378
  • J.H. Ha, P. K. Shil, P. Zhu, L. Gu, Q. Li, S. Chung.Supplementation of muscadine grape polyphenols attenuates ocular inflammation and ER stress vitro and in vivo. The Journal of Nutrition, 2014 Jun;144(6):799-806. PMID: 24699803.
  • Kohli N, Westerveld DR, Ayache AC, Verma A, Shil P, Prasad T, Zhu P, Chan SL, Li Q, Daniell H.Oral delivery of bioencapsulated proteins across blood-brain and retinal barriers.  Molecular Therapy 2014 Mar;22(3):535-46. PMID: 24281246
  • Dinculescu A, Min SH, Deng WT, Li Q, Hauswirth WW. Gene therapy in the rd6 mouse model of retinal degeneration. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014; 801:711-8. PMID: 24664762.
  • Q. Li, A. Verma, P. Zhu, B. Lei, Y. Qiu, T. Nakagawa, M. K Raizada and W. W Hauswirth. Gene Therapy for Diabetic Retinopathy- Targeting Ocular Renin Angiotensin System. In: “Gene Therapy- Tools and Potential Applications, Dr. Francisco Martin (Ed.)”, ISBN: 978-953-51-1014-9, InTech, 2013, Intech Publisher, http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/52702. 467-491
  •  T. Lin; Y. Qiu; Y. Liu; R. Mohan; Q. Li and Bo Lei.  Expressions of adiponectin and its receptors in the retina of human and type 1 diabetes mellitus mouse. Molecular Vision. 2013 Aug 4;19:1769-78. PMID: 23922494.
  • Shan Z, Zubcevic J, Shi P, Jun JY, Dong Y, Murça TM, Lamont GJ, Cuadra A, Yuan W, Qi Y, Li Q, Paton JF, Katovich MJ, Sumners C, Raizada MK. Chronic knockdown of the nucleus of the solitary tract AT1 receptors increases blood inflammatory-endothelial progenitor cell ratio and exacerbates hypertension in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Hypertension. 2013 Jun;61(6):1328-33. PMID: 23547238
  • Zubcevic J, Jun JY, Lamont G, Murça TM, Shi P, Yuan W, Lin F, Carvajal JM, Li Q, Sumners C, Raizada MK, Shan Z. Nucleus of the solitary tract (pro)renin receptor-mediated antihypertensive effect involves nuclear factor-κB-cytokine signaling in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Hypertension. 2013 Mar;61(3):622-7. PMID: 23319541
  •  Qi Y, Li Q, Shenoy V, Zingler M, Jun J, Verma A, Katovich MJ, Raizada MK.Comparison of the transduction efficiency of tyrosine-mutant adeno-associated virus serotype vectors in kidney.Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2013 Jan;40(1):53-5. PMID:23216315
  • Hazra S, Rasheed A, Bhatwadekar A, Wang X, Shaw LC, Patel M, Caballero S, Magomedova L, Solis N, Yan Y, Wang W, Thinschmidt JS, Verma A, Li Q, Levi M, Cummins CL, Grant MB.  Liver X Receptor Modulates Diabetic Retinopathy Outcome in a Mouse Model of Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes. 2012 Dec;61(12):3270-9. PMID:22891211
  • Douglas Y, Bhatwadekar AD, Shaw LC, Carnegie D, Caballero S, Li Q, Calzi SL, Raizada MK, Stitt AW, Grant MB. Bone marrow-CNS connections: Implications in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research. 2012 Sep;31(5):481-94. PMID:22609081
  • D. Mao, J. Wang, H. Peng, Q. Li, P. Li, K. Hu, X. Zhang, B. Lei. Aqueous humor and plasma adiponectin levels in proliferative diabetic retinopathy patients. Current Eye Research. 2012 Sep;37(9):803-8. PMID: 22563689
  • W. Deng, A. Dinculescu, Q. Li, S. Boye, J. Li, M. Gorbatyuk, J. Pang, V. Chiodo, M. Matthes, D. Yasumura, L. Liu, F. Alkuraya, K. Zhang, D. Vollrath, M. M. LaVail, W. W. Hauswirth. Tyrosine-mutant AAV8 delivery of human MERTK provides long-term retinal preservation in RCS Rats. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Apr 6;53(4):1895-1904. PMID:22408006
  • A. Dinculescu, J. Estreicher, JC Zenteno, TS Aleman, SB Schwartz, WC Huang, AJ Roman, A Sumaroka, Q  Li, WT Deng, SH Min, V Chiodo, AW Neeley, X Liu, X Shu, M Matias-Florentino, B Buentello-Volante, SL Boye, AV Cideciyan, WW Hauswirth, SG Jacobson.  Gene Therapy for Retinitis Pigmentosa caused by MFRP (Membrane-type Frizzled Related Protein) Mutations: Human Phenotype and Preliminary Proof-of-Concept. Hum Gene Therapy. 2012 Apr;23(4):367-76. PMID:22142163.
  • Q. Li, A. Verma, A. Dinculescu, A. S. Lewin, and W. W. Hauswirth. NADPH oxidase in choroidal neovascularization. In: “Oxidative Stress in Applied Basic Research and Clinical Practice”, 307-320, Humana Press, 2012.
  • Y Qi, H Li, V Shenoy, Q Li, F Wang, M Raizada, C Sumners, M Katovich.  Moderate cardiac-selective overexpression of angiotensin type 2 receptor protects cardiac functions from ischemic injury.  Exp Physiol. 2012 Jan;97(1):89-101. PMID:21967903.
  • A. Verma, Z.Shan, L. Yuan,  B. Lei, X. Liu, T. Nakagawa, M.  B Grant,  A. S Lewin, W. W Hauswirthand M. Raizada,  Q. Li.  ACE2 and Ang-(1-7) confer protection against development of diabetic retinopathy. Molecular Therapy. 2012 Jan;20(1):28-36. PMID:  21792177
  • Y.P. R. Jarajapu, S. Caballero, A.Verma, T. Nakagawa, M.C. Lo, Q. Li, and M. B. Grant. Blockade of NADPH Oxidase Restores Vasoreparative Function in Diabetic CD34+ Cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Jul 7;52(8):5093-104. PMID: 2167690
  • Sato W, Tanabe K, Kosugi T, Hudkins K, Lanaspa MA, Zhang L, Campbell-Thompson M, Li Q, Long DA, Alpers CE, Nakagawa T. Selective stimulation of VEGFR2 accelerates progressive renal disease. Am J Pathology. 2011 Jul;179(1):155-66. PMID: 21640973.
  • M.C. Peden, J. Min, C. Meyers, Z. Lukowski, Q. Li, S. Boye, M. Levin, W. Hauswirth, R. Ratnakaram, W. Dawson, C. Smith, M.B. Sherwood. Ab-Externo AAV-Mediated Gene Delivery to the Suprachoroidal Space Using a 250 Micron Flexible Microcatheter. PLoS One. 2011 Feb 11;6(2):e17140. PMID: 21347253.
  • Lukason M, Dufresne E, Rubin H, Pechan P, Q. Li, Kim I, Kiss S, Flaxel C, Collins M, Miller J, Hauswirth W, Maclachlan T, Wadsworth S, Scaria A. Inhibition of Choroidal Neovascularization in a Nonhuman Primate Model by Intravitreal Administration of an AAV2 Vector Expressing a Novel Anti-VEGF Molecule. Molecular Therapy. 2011 Feb;19(2):260-5. PMID: 20978476.
  • Petrs-Silva H, Dinculescu A, Q. Li, Deng WT, Pang JJ, Min SH, Chiodo V, Neeley AW, Govindasamy L, Bennett A, Agbandje-McKenna M, Zhong L, Li B, Jayandharan GR, Srivastava A, Lewin AS, Hauswirth WW. Novel Properties of Tyrosine-mutant AAV2 Vectors in the Mouse Retina. Molecular Therapy. 2011 Feb;19(2):293-301. PMID: 21045809
  • Nakagawa T, Tanabe K, Croker BP, Johnson RJ, Grant MB, Kosugi T, Li Q. Endothelial dysfunction as a potential contributor in diabetic nephropathy. Nature Review of Nephrology. 2011 Jan;7(1):36-44. PMID:21045790
  • Z. Shan, P. Shi, A. E. Cuadra, Y.Dong, Q. Li,  D.  Seth, L. G. Navar, M. J. Katovich, C. Sumners and M. K. Raizada.Involvement of the brain (pro) renin receptor in cardiovascular homeostasis. Circulation Research. 2010 Oct 1;107(7):934-8. PMID: 20689062.
  • P. Shi, C. Diez-Freire, J. Y. Jun, Y. Qi, M. J. Katovich, Q. Li, S. Sriramula, J. Francis, C. Sumners and M. K. Raizada. Brain Microglial Cytokines in Neurogenic Hypertension. Hypertension. 2010 Aug;56(2):297-303. PMID: 20547972
  • Q. Li, A. Verma,  P. Han, T. Nakagawa, R. J. Johnson, M. B. Grant, M. Campbell-Thompson, M. S. Segal, B. Lei, W. W. Hauswirth.  Diabetic eNOS knockout mice develop accelerated retinopathy.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2010;51(10):5240-5246. PMID: 20435587
  • Q. Li and Raizada MK. Is (Pro)renin receptor a multifunctional receptor?  Hypertension. 2010 Aug;56(2):297-303. PMID: 20368502
  • J. Pang, J. Alexander, B. Lei, W. Deng, K. Zhang, Q. Li, B. Chang, W.W. Hauswirth. Achromatopsia as a potential candidate for gene therapy. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2010;664:639-46.PMID:20238068
  •  J. Pang, S.E. Boye, B. Lei, S.L. Boye,D.  Everhart, R. Ryals, Y. Umino, B. Rohrer, J. Alexander, J. Li, X. Dai, Q. Li, B. Chang, R. Barlow, W.W. Hauswirth. Self-complementary AAV-mediated gene therapy restores cone function and prevents cone degeneration in two models of Rpe65 deficiency. Gene Therapy. 2010 Jul;17(7):815-26. PMID: 20237510
  •  Y. Qi, X, Liu, H. Li, V. Shenoy, Q. Li, W. Hauswirth,  C. Sumners and M. J Katovich. Selective tropism of the rAAV9 serotype for rodent cardiac tissue. J Gene Med. 2010 Jan;12(1):22-34. PMID:19830780
  • T. Kosugi, T. Nakayama, Q. Li, V. Chiodo, L. Zhang, M. Campbell-Thompson, M. Grant, B. P. Croker, T. Nakagawa. Soluble-Flt-1 Gene Therapy Ameliorates Albuminuria, but Accelerates Tubulointerstitial Injury in Diabetic Mice. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2009 Dec 16. PMID: 20015944.
  • Mancuso, K., W. W. Hauswirth, Q. Li, T. B. Connor, J. Kuchenbecker, M. C. Mauck, J. Neitz, M. Neitz. Gene therapy for red-green colour blindness in adult primates. Nature. 2009 Oct 8;461(7265):784-7. PMID:19759534
  • KosugiT., M. Heinig, T. Connor, Y. Yuzawa, Q. Li, W. W. Hauswirth, M. B. Grant, B. P Croker, M. Campbell-Thompson, L. Zhang, M. A Atkinson, M. S. Segal, and T. Nakagawa.Lowering blood pressure blocks mesangiolysis and mesangial nodules, but not tubulointerstitial injury, in diabetic eNOS knockout mice. Am J Pathology. 2009 Apr;174(4):1221-9. PMID:19246639
  •  Li, W., Kong, F., LiX., Dai. X, Liu, X., Wu, R., Zhou, X., Lü, F., Chang, B., Q. Li, Hauswirth, W. W., Qu, J., Pang. J.Gene therapy following subretinal AAV5 vector delivery is not affected by a previous intravitreal AAV5 vector administration in the partner eye. Molecular Vision. 2009;15:267-75. PMID:19190735
  • Petrs-Silva, H, Dinculescu, A, Q. Li, S.H. Min, V. Chiodo, J.J. Pang, Zhong, L., Zolotukhin, S., Srivastava, A., Lewin, A.S and Hauswirth, W.W. High-efficiency transduction of the mouse retina by tyrosine-mutant AAV serotype vectors. Molecular Therapy. 2009 Mar;17(3):463-71. PMID:19066593
  • Q. Li, R. Miller, P. Y. Han, J. Pang, A. Dinculescu, V. Choido, and W. Hauswirth. Route of AAV2 vector administration defines humoral immune response and therapeutic potential. Molecular Vision. Sep 24;14:1760-9.2008.PMID:18836574
  • Q. Li, Dinculescu A, Shan Z, Miller R, Pang J, Lewin AS, Raizada MK, Hauswirth WW. Downregulation of p22phox in Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells Inhibits Choroidal Neovascularization in Mice. Molecular Therapy. 2008 Oct;16(10):1688-94. PMID:18665154
  • Pang JJ, Boye SL, Kumar A, Dinculescu A, Deng W, Li J, Q. Li, Rani A, Foster TC, Chang B, Hawes NL, Boatright JH, Hauswirth WW. AAV-mediated gene therapy delays retinal degeneration in the rd10 mouse containing a recessive PDE{beta}mutation. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 Oct;49(10):4278-83. PMID:18586879
  • Pang, J., Lauramore A, Deng WT, Q. Li, Doyle TJ, Chiodo V, Li J, Hauswirth WW. Comparative analysis of in vivo and in vitro AAV vector transduction in the neonatal mouse retina: Effects of serotype and site of administration. Vision Research. 2008 Feb;48(3):377-85. PMID:17950399
  • Q. Li, Timmers AM, Guy J, Pang J, Hauswirth WW. Cone-specific expression using a human red opsin promoter in recombinant AAV. Vision Research. 2008 Feb;48(3):332-8. PMID:17905404
  • Alexander JJ, Umino Y, Everhart D, Chang B, Min SH, Q. Li, Timmers AM, Hawes NL, Pang JJ, Barlow RB,  Hauswirth WW. Restoration of cone vision in a mouse model of achromatopsia. Nature Medicine. 2007 Jun;13(6):685-7. PMID:17515894