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  Brigham and Women's Hospital
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Li Chai, M.D.

Assistant Professor in Pathology, Harvard Medical School



Academic Activities:
The Chai laboratory has focused on the study of one of the most important transcriptional regulators of stem cells, SALL4. It is of particular interest to stem cell biologists because it is the only gene that has so far been linked to the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), and is also involved in human leukaemia. In ESCs, the SALL4/Oct4/Nanog core transcriptional network governs the self-renewal and pluripotent properties of human and mouse ESCs. In normal HSCs and leukaemic stem cells (LSCs), SALL4 activates 2 known pathways that are involved in self-renewal: the Wnt/β-catenin and Bmi-1 pathways. It is one of few genes that bridge the self-renewal properties of ESCs, normal HSCs, and LSCs. In addition, SALL4 serves as a direct link between epigenetic modulators (activator and repressor complexes) and their downstream target genes. Our main focus in the lab at the current stage is to investigate the mechanism(s) of SALL4 involved in the self-renewal of ESCs, HSCs, and LSCs, and define the common SALL4-dependent pathway involved in the self-renewal of these cells.
Office
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur
Pathology Department - NRB652
Boston,MA 02115
Email1: lchai@partners.org
Education and Training:

Medical School - : Shandong Medical University M.D.
Residency 7/1/1997 - 6/30/2000 : Rhode Island Hospital
Fellowship 07/01/2000 - 06/30/2001 : Yale-New Haven Hospital
Residency 07/01/2001 - 06/30/2002 : Rhode Island Hospital

Clinical Specialties:
  • Transfusion Medicine
Research Interests:
  • Cancer stem cell
  • Stem cell
  • Leukemia
  • Transcriptional regulation
  • Epigenetics
Publication:
  1. Ma Y, Li DW, Chai L, Morgan J, Luciani AM, Maizel AL. Cloning and characterization of 5’-flanking region of the human Hsal 2 gene and its Involvement in human cancer. J Biol Chem. 2001 Dec 21; 276(51):48223–30.
  2. Chai L, Ma Y, Steinhoff MM, Taylor W, Maizel AL. SALL1 expression in the human pituitary-adrenal/gonadal axis. J Endocrinol. 2002; 173(3):437–48.
  3. Herzog E, Chai L, Krause DS. Plasticity of marrow derived stem cells. Blood. 2003; 102(10):3483–93.
  4. Zhang J, Tam W, Tong GQ, Wu Q, Chan BS, Lou Y, Yang J, Ma Y, Chai L, Ng H, Lufkin T, Robson P, B Lim. Sall4 modulates embryonic stem cell pluripotency and early embryonic development by the transcriptional regulation of Pou5f1. Nat Cell Biol. 2006; 8(10):1114–23.
  5. Cui W, Ma YP, Kong N, Amin HM, Lai R, Chai L. Differential expression of the novel oncogene, SALL4, in lymphoma, plasma cell myeloma, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Mod Pathol. 2006; 19(12):1585–92.
  6. Chai L, Yang J, Di C, Cui W, Rai R, Ma Y. Transcriptional activation of the SALL1 by the human SIX1 homeodomain during kidney development. JBC, 2006; 281(28):18918–26.
  7. Ma Y, Cui W, Yang J, Qu J, Di CH, Amin HM, Lai R, Ritz J, Krause DS, Chai L. SALL4, a novel oncogene, is constitutively expressed in human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and induces AML in transgenic mice. Blood. 2006; 108(8):2726–35.
  8. Yang J, Chai L, Liu F, Fink L, Lin P, Silberstein L, Amin HM, Ward D and Ma Y. Bmi-1 is a SALL4 target gene in hematopoietic and leukemic stem cells, PNAS., 2007 jun 19; 104(25): 10494-9. Epub 2007 Jun 8.
  9. Yang J, Chai L, Fowles T, Alipio Z, Gao C, Fink L, Ma Y, SALL4-dependent signaling networks are required for survival of leukemia cells, Blood, 2008, Aug 1;112(3):805-13. Epub 2008 May 16. (Corresponding author)
  10. Jia Y, Loison F, Li Y, Erneux C, Park P, Gao C, Chai L, Silberstein L, Schurmans and Luo R, Inositol trisphosphate kinases B (InsP3KB) as a physiological modulator of myelopoiesis, PNAS, 2008 Mar 25;105(12):4739-44. Epub 2008 Mar 13.
  11. Yang J, Chai L, Fowles TC, Alipio Z, Xu D, Fink LM, Ward DC, Ma Y. Genome-wide analysis reveals Sall4 to be a major regulator of pluripotency in murine-embryonic stem cells. PNAS, 2008 Dec 16;105(50):19756-61. Epub 2008 Dec 5.
  12. Yi Le, Luhong Xu, Jiayun Lu, Jianpei Fang, Valentina Nard, Li Chai and Leslie E. Silberstein, FAK silencing inhibits leukemogenesis in BCR/ABL transformed hematopoietic cells, American Journal of Hematology, 2009 May;84(5):273-8.
  13. Lu J, Jeong H, Kong N, Yang Y, Carroll J, Luo R, Silberstein L,, Ma Y and Chai, L Stem cell factor SALL4 represses the transcriptions of PTEN and SALL1 through an epigenetic repressor complex, PLoS ONE, 2009, 4(5):e5577. Epub 2009 May 18.
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