Research Assistant Professor: Dongmei Li

Dr. Dongmei Li’s professional training includes 7 years of dermatology and more than 20 years of basic science research. Her clinical training is focused upon fungal infections and treatment. Since then, her research has been on fungal pathogenesis. She is currently studying mitochondria metabolic activity and its impact on candidiasis caused by the human pathogen, Candidia albicans.


  • M.D., Xi’an Medical University, China, 1987
  • Ph.D., University of Beijing, Medical School, 1995
  • Fellow, Natural History Museum & Institute, Japan, 1996
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Oregon Graduate Institute, USA, 1998
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Georgetown University Medical Center,  2000
  • Research Assistant Professor at Georgetown University,  2001- current
  • Contact: (202) 687-1796;


In order to understand the role of mitochondrial metabolism during candidiasis, I have constructed mitochondrial mutants of the electron transport complex I subunit proteins. Mutant phenotypes are tested in vitro for changes in growth, metabolism and in vivo for virulence and reactivity with immune cells. Virulence is measured in models of disseminated infection and GI tract colonization. As the mitochondrial proteins are fungal-specific, they are exploitable as targets of new antifungals. The major areas of research thus are: 1) Mitochondrial and metabolic activities in fungal infection; 2) the role of mitochondrial and metabolic factors in host defense against invasive candidiasis; 3) mucosal site-specific immunity in candidiasis; and 4) antifungal drug target discovery.


  • Zhang P, Li H, Cheng J, Sun AY, Wang L, Mirchevska G, Calderone R, Li D*. (2018). Respiratory stress in mitochondrial electron transport chain complex mutants of Candida albicans activates Snf1 kinase response. Fungal Genet Biol. 111:73-84.
  • Sun N, Li D, Zhang Y, Killeen K, Groutas W, Calderone R*. (2017). Repurposing an inhibitor of ribosomal biogenesis with broad anti-fungal activity.  Sci Rep.  7(1):17014.
  • Li SX, Song YJ, Zhang YS, Wu HT, Guo H, Zhu KJ, Li DM*, Zhang H*. (2017). Mitochondrial complex V α subunit is critical for Candida albicans pathogenicity through modulating multiple virulence properties.  Front Microbiol 8:285.
  • Liang G, Liu M, Wang Q, Shen Y, Mei H, Li D, & Liu W*  (2017). Itraconazole exerts its anti-melanoma effect by suppressing Hedgehog, Wnt, and PI3K/mTOR signaling pathways. Oncotarget, 8(17): 28510–28525.
  • Li D, Calderone R*. (2017) Exploiting mitochondria as targets for the development of new antifungals.  Virulence. 8(2):159-168.
  • She X, Calderone R, Kruppa M, Lowman D, Williams D, Zhang L, Gao Y, Khamooshi K, Liu W, Li D*.  (2016) Cell wall N-linked mannoprotein biosynthesis requires Goa1p, a putative regulator of mitochondrial complex I in Candida albicans. PLOS one  11(1):e0147175.
  • She X, Khamooshi K, Gao Y, Shen Y, Lv Y, Calderone R, Fonzi W, Liu W, Li D*. (2015) Fungal-specific subunits of the Candida albicans mitochondrial complex I drive diverse cell functions including cell wall synthesis. Cell Microbiol 17(9):1350-64.
  • Khamooshi K, Sikorski P, Sun N, Calderone R, Li D*.  (2014) The Rbf1, Hfl1 and Dbp4 of Candida albicans regulate common as well as transcription factor-specific mitochondrial and other cell activities. BMC Genomics. 15:56.
  • She XD, Zhang LL, Chen H, Calderone R Li D*  (2013) Cell surface changes in the Candida albicans mitochondrial mutant goa1Δ are associated with reduced recognition by innate immune cells. Cellular Microbiology 15:1572-1584.
  • Hu H, Merenstein DJ, Wang C, Hamilton PR, Blackmon ML, Chen H, Calderone RA, Li D. (2013) Impact of eating probiotic yogurt on colonization by Candida species of the oral and vaginal mucosa in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women. Mycopathologia  176(3-4):175-81.