Wen-Hsiung Li, Ph.D.
Distinguished Research Fellow
Dr. Wen-Hsiung Li received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics at Brown
University in 1972. Next year he joined The University of Texas Health
Science Center as an assistant professor in population genetics, and he was
appointed as a professor in 1984. Since 1998 he has been the James Watson
Chair Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, and he
was the Director at the Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica from
2008 to 2016. Dr. Li is currently an academician of Academia Sinica,
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and National Academy of Sciences.
Before 1979, Dr. Li focused on population genetics and studied genetic differences between populations. In late 1970’s, DNA sequencing technologies were developed and applied to obtain DNA sequencing data. As a pioneer of DNA sequencing evolution, Dr. Li decided to devote himself to studying the evolutionary biology using DNA sequencing data, and he utilized the molecular clock model to analyze and calculate the evolutionary distance between species. Later, Dr. Li’s group investigated the evolution of gene regulation in yeast strains and species, avian evolutionary genetics and genomics, and the transforming C4 genes into the rice genome. In 2003, Dr. Li received the International Balzan Prize for Genetics and Evolution, and he was the third recipient and first Chinese scientist to receive this honor. In 2009, he became the first Asian scientist to receive the Mendel Lecture and Medal from the Genetics Society in the UK for his contribution to genetics and evolutionary study.