College of Science

Laboratory of Innate Immunity & Inflammation Biology

Liwu Li, Ph. D.  Principal Investigator

Dr. Li received his B.S. degree from China in 1986, a Ph.D from Univ. of Michigan in 1996, and did his post-doc training with Jack Dixon till 1999.  He was an Assistant and Associate Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine from 1999 till 2005.  He has served as an associate editor of the Journal of Immunology, a panel member for various NIH study sections, and a board member for the Inflammation Research Association. Dr. Li is currently a Professor at Virginia Tech, and holds joint appointment at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering.

Research Faculty

Shuo Geng, Ph.D. Research Scientist

Selected publication:

Low-grade inflammatory polarization of monocytes impairs wound healing. 2016 J Pathology. 238(4):571-83


Myeloid cell-derived inducible nitric oxide synthase suppresses M1 macrophage polarization. 2015 Nature Communications. 6:6676.


Emergence, origin, and function of neutrophil-dendritic cell hybrids in experimentally induced inflammatory lesions in mice.2013 Blood. 121(10):1690-700.

Yao Zhang, Ph.D. Research Scientist

BS, Peking University; PhD, Penn State University

Research interest: Innate leukocyte programming and polarization in chronic diseases

Graduate students/scholars

Allison Rahtes, Elizabethtown College

Research interest: Low-grade non-resolving inflammation in monocytes and macrophages


Bronson Weston, University of Delaware (Co-advised by Dr. John Tyson)

Research interest: Computational and systems analyses of innate leukocyte differentiation and activation

Christina Lee, BS, George Washington University; MS, Georgetown University

Research interest: Neutrophil polarization in tumor immune Surveillance


Elaine Bradford, Clemson University

Research interest: Polarized neutrophils in host anti-microbial defense

Kisha Pradhan, Wilson College

Research interest: Synergistic polarization of monocytes and macrophages in atherosclerosis


Taojing Ran, Southern Medical University

Research interest: Innate leukocyte programming in septic colitis


Former Post-docs:

Keqiang Chen, PhD, Research Scientist, NIH

Urmila Maitra, PhD, University of Alabama

Dongmei Wang, PhD, Associate Professor, USTC, China

Jianmin Su, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, VTC Medical School

Qifa Xie, PhD, University of Louisville Medical School

Steve Fasciano, PhD, Chair of Science, Lincoln College of New England

Kathleen Richter, PhD, NIEHS


Former Graduate Students:

Ruoxi Yuan, PhD, Hospital for Special Surgery/Cornell Medical School

Matt Morris, PhD, University of Rochester Medical School

Trevor Glaros, PhD, BioDefense Branch, US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center

Bianca Baker, PhD, VCU Medical School

Lu Gan, PhD, NIH

Tamisha Vaughan, PhD, Emory School of Medicine

Mike Surace, PhD, VCU School of Medicine

Neeraj Singh, PhD, DVM, NIH

Samantha Chang, PhD, DVM

Lorna Ringwood, PhD, Post-doctoral, UC Davis


Former Undergraduate students:

Erin Huber, PhD student, John Hopkins School of Public Health

Ka-Po Leung, Pharmacy student, VCU School of Pharmacy

Phil Nguyen, Dental student, VCU School of Dentistry

Andrew Becker, Medical Student, VCOM

Lee Howell, Research Staff, Naval Research Center

Sarah Davis, PhD student, Univ of Tennessee

Sean Dougherty, VCU Medical School


group photo