In China, more than 3,500,000 people die from cardiovascular diseases every year. It remains the most common cause of hospital admissions for people aged over sixty. Professor Ming Li’s focus is mainly on those that affect the heart’s muscle tissue and its repair. These are the diseases that directly affect the heart’s ability to pump enough blood for the body’s needs, in their severest form, can lead to sudden death.
Professor Ming Li’s career has involved investigations in three different areas of research. From year 1990 to 1997, he studied the mechanisms of adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH) and steroids in experimental models of hypertension, and demonstrated that decreased nitric oxide synthesis is the major cause of ACTH-induced hypertension in the rat. Subsequently, from year 1998 to 2007, he studied the role of chymase in blood pressure regulation and cardiovascular diseases, and showed that chymase-dependent angiotensin II formation not only has a role in long term blood pressure regulation but also in heart failure development. The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could lead to improved treatments for people with high blood pressure, heart failure and other conditions. Combining an ACE inhibitor and a chymaseinhibitor improved ejection fraction, a measure of heart function, and reduced the amount of dead tissue and scarring more than either drug alone. This important finding has been widely recognized.
More recently, they found that stem cell factor receptor, c-kit, is required for CM terminal differentiation (Li et al., Circ Res 2008). This potentially has enormous clinical significance, they have now also shown that the cardiac specific dominant negative c-kit dysfunctional transgenic mice [Tg-(α-MHC-dn-c-kit)] show improved survival and improved functioning of their hearts, and have substantial heart muscle and blood vessel regeneration, after a heart attack (MI). Very recently, they have found that a thyroid hormone surge activates the IGF-1/IGF-1-R/Akt pathway on postnatal day 15 and initiates a brief but intense burst of proliferation involving division of, predominantly, binuclear CMs. This study has been published in Cell 2014 . Professor Li is an international famous scientist in heart regenerative field and have published more than 35 original research papers, including 《Cell》(IF=33.116), 《Journal of Clinical Investigation》(IF=13.765), 《Circulation Research》(IF=11.089) and 《Hypertension》(IF=7.632).
The director of Ming Li and his CRRI teams work across four main research divisions – Cardiac regeneration and repair, Heart development and aging, Biomaterials and tissue engineering，Immunology and tissue repair. The Institute holds itself to the high standards of excellence in research, research training and efforts to translate each new discovery into practical medical applications.
The Institute was funded by grants from the Wenzhou Medical University and the grants from the Governments of Wenzhou Science Foundation, Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation and National Natural Science Foundation of China.