Journal of DNA And RNA Research

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DNA And RNA Research-My primary research interest is to identify and elucidate molecular alterations and their roles in the multi-step process of upper aerodigestive tract malignancies-Li Mao

United States

University of Maryland,


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Li Mao


650 W Baltimore St,
Room 7259,
MD 21201,
United States.

Research Interests:

  • My primary research interest is to identify and elucidate molecular alterations and their roles in the multi-step process of upper aerodigestive tract malignancies, especially head and neck cancer and lung cancer.
  • We are actively exploring the possibility to use molecular markers in cancer early detection, risk assessment, and personalized treatment.
  • My laboratory also has active research programs in the area of targeted experimental therapeutics and mechanistic understanding of epigenetic regulation in tumorgenesiscancer and precancer.


  • I have a broad research interests ranging from cancer risk assessment, early detection, prevention, to individualized treatment. 
  • My diverse training background in surgery, medical oncology, cancer biology, and cancer genetics give me unique capability to nurture trainees with multidisciplinary approaches for translational biomedical research. 
  • I have made considerable contribution in the early carcinogenic processes of upper aerodigestive tract. 
  • I am among the first to demonstrate the importance of promoter hypermethylation in lung cancer and the first to provide genetic evidence demonstrating the chronic damage made by cigarette smoke in the airway cells. 
  • My group discovered a major DNMT3B subfamily and its role in lung cancer and identified HDGF as a novel therapeutic target for patients with lung cancer. 
  • I am currently the Principal Investigator of 2 R01s from NCI to study the role and mechanisms of DNA methyltransferase 3s (DNMT3Bs) and hepatoma-derived growth factor (HDGF) in lung cancer. 
  • I am also the site PI at University of Maryland for a NCI cancer prevention clinical trial (N01) and a clinical cancer prevention trial (NCI P01). 
  • In University of Maryland Greenebaun Cancer Center, I serve as a Co-Director of Experimental Therapeutics Program since 2010. 
  • To promote multidiscipline approach for lung cancer research, I have established a research interest group focus on COPD and lung cancer populations to include key pulmonologist, medical oncologist, bioinformatics specialist, and cancer biologist. 
  • I am actively mentoring a junior pulmonology faculty to investigate COPD and lung cancer. 
  • These activities are the testimony of our collaborative efforts and commitment for a joint research focus between pulmonary diseases and lung cancer. 
  • My previous organized research experiences include: Project Leader or Co-Leader in two Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE), two NCI P01s (focused on lung cancer and head and neck cancer prevention), and five Department of Defense supported Lung Cancer Research Programs including the highly publicized BATTLE Program in which I was instrumental in the concept development and key for molecular based approaches to study mechanisms of lung cancer initiation and progression in order to identify targets for prevention and treatment. 
  • I had been a faculty mentor in two T32 training grants for medical oncology fellows and have been a faculty mentor in two current T32 for oral and maxillofacial biology and cancer biology. 
  • I have an extensive experience in mentoring post-graduate trainees at all levels, particularly physician-scientists.