College of Science


Lab People

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 at Michigan 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 Assistant Professor

Selected publication:

Toll-interacting protein differentially modulates HIF1α and STAT5-mediated genes in fibroblasts. 2018. J Biol Chem 293(31):12239


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


The persistence of low-grade inflammatory monocytes contributes to aggravated atherosclerosis. 2016 Nature Communications. 7:13436.


Yao Zhang, Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor

Selected publication:

Enhanced tumor immune surveillance through neutrophil reprogramming due to Tollip deficiency. Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight. 2019. 4(2):e122939.


Suppression of Neutrophil Antimicrobial Functions by Total Particulate Matter from Cigarette Smoke. 2018 Frontiers in Immunology. 9:2274.


Enhanced Mucosal Defense and Reduced Tumor Burden in Mice with the Compromised Negative Regulator IRAK-M. 2017 EBioMedicine. 15:36-47. 


Graduate Students and Scholars

Allison Rahtes, Elizabethtown College

Selected publication:

Cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the resolution of innate leukocyte inflammation. 2018

J Leukoc Biol. 104(3):535-541.



Bronson Weston, U Delaware (Co-Mentor: John Tyson)

Selected publication:

Mathematical Analysis of Cytokine-Induced Differentiation of Granulocyte-Monocyte Progenitor Cells. 2018

Frontiers in Immunology. In press.


Kisha Pradhan, Wilson College


Monocyte polarization in chronic disesases


RuiCi Rita Lin

Neutrophil polarization in health and disease


Brittany Boribang (Co-Mentor: Caroline Jones)

  Ran Lu, Ph.D
  XiaoFeng Liao, PhD

Former Post-docs:

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

Kathleen Richter, PhD, NIEHS

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

Qifa Xie, PhD, University of Louisville Medical School

Urmila Maitra, PhD, University of Alabama

Keqiang Chen, PhD, Research Scientist, NIH


Former Graduate Students:

Christina Lee, PhD, Stanford Medicine

Matt Morris, PhD, University of Rochester Medical School

Ruoxi Yuan, PhD, Hospital for Special Surgery/Cornell Medicine

Bianca Baker, PhD, Johnson & Johnson

Liz Kowalski, PhD, Virginia Tech

Chimera Lyle, PhD, Boston University Medical School

Lu Gan, PhD, NIH

Tamisha Vaughan, PhD, Kyowakirin

Mike Surace, PhD, VCU School of Medicine

Neeraj Singh, PhD, DVM, NIH

Trevor Glaros, PhD, Principle Scientist, DoD

Lorna Ringwood, PhD, Wake Forest Medicine



Former Undergradaute students:

Julia Button, UNC School of Medicine

Sean Dougherty, VCU School of Medicine/UVA Residency

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

group photo