Contact IMV

IMV Executive Assistant


tel. (612) 624-1926

fax. (612) 625-1108


18-242 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

General Questions:

Fang Li,
Assistant Professor

Pharmacology, Medical School

Phone: 612-625-6149



Ph.D, Yale University, 2002

Research Interests

We study the structural basis for the invasion and replication mechanisms of human viral pathogens.

Using SARS coronavirus, Avian Influenza orthomyxovirus, and Ebola filovirus as sample species, we ask three questions. First, how do viruses recognize their receptors when invading host cells? Second, once inside the host cells, how do viruses replicate themselves? Third, how can we inhibit the invasion and replication of viruses? We address these questions using X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, molecular biology, and protein biochemistry.

Our research primarily targets two proteins: the glycoproteins on the viral surface that guide cell entry, and the polymerases that replicate viral genomes inside cells.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Li F, Li W, Farzan M, Harrison SC. Interactions between SARS coronavirus and its receptor. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2006;581:229-34.
  • Li F, Berardi M, Li W, Farzan M, Dormitzer PR, Harrison SC. Conformational states of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus spike protein ectodomain. J Virol. 2006 Jul;80(14):6794-800.
  • Li W, Wong SK, Li F, Kuhn JH, Huang IC, Choe H, Farzan M. Animal origins of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus: insight from ACE2-S-protein interactions. J Virol. 2006 May;80(9):4211-9.
  • Huang IC, Bosch BJ, Li F, Li W, Lee KH, Ghiran S, Vasilieva N, Dermody TS, Harrison SC, Dormitzer PR, Farzan M, Rottier PJ, Choe H. SARS coronavirus, but not human coronavirus NL63, utilizes cathepsin L to infect ACE2-expressing cells. J Biol Chem. 2006 Feb 10;281(6):3198-203.
  • Li F, Li W, Farzan M, Harrison SC. Structure of SARS coronavirus spike receptor-binding domain complexed with receptor. Science. 2005 Sep 16;309(5742):1864-8.
  • Xiong Y, Li F, Wang J, Weiner AM, Steitz TA. Crystal structures of an archaeal class I CCA-adding enzyme and its nucleotide complexes. Mol Cell. 2003 Nov;12(5):1165-72.
  • Li F, Steitz TA. A novel method of determining the number of macromolecules per asymmetric unit from accurate crystal-volume measurements. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2003 Oct;59(Pt 10):1793-6.
  • Li F, Xiong Y, Wang J, Cho HD, Tomita K, Weiner AM, Steitz TA. Crystal structures of the Bacillus stearothermophilus CCA-adding enzyme and its complexes with ATP or CTP. Cell. 2002 Dec 13;111(6):815-24.
  • Li F, Wang J, Steitz TA. Related Articles, Links Sulfolobus shibatae CCA-adding enzyme forms a tetramer upon binding two tRNA molecules: A scrunching-shuttling model of CCA specificity. J Mol Biol. 2000 Dec 1;304(3):483-92


Featured News & Events

'Wisc-e-sota', a Joint UMN-UW Virology Training Grant Symposium was first held on Friday, Sepbember 20th, 2013 at the Uniiversity of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Cartwright Center. This was the inaugural collaborative symposium of the NIH T32-supported virology training programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Talks and poster sessions were presented by students, postdocs and faculty. The second UMN-UW Virology Training Grant Symposium will be held in the Fall 2014. Details to follow.

The 2014 IMV Symposium will be held on May 12, 2014 and Mark Denison (Vanderbilt) and Bert Semler (UC-Irvine) will be the Keynote Speakers. Click on the link below to register and submit abstracts.

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Read about bacteriophage phi 29 and why it matters.

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