Imperial College London

Dr. Jia Li

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction

Reader in Biological Chemistry



+44 (0)20 7594




10.N2ACommonwealth BuildingHammersmith Campus






I graduated from Chemistry Department, Nankai University, China in 2005, and obtained a PhD in biochemistry from the University of London in 2009. Since I was awarded an Imperial College Research Fellowship in 2010, I have established my independent research in host-microbial interactions post weight loss surgery. I am an MRC New Investigator and an ERC Starting Grant holder.

I am also a Deputy Director of Imperial International Phenome Training Centre (IIPTC) and run several short courses. I am a course leader for the MRes stream in Microbiome in Health and Disease (MHD) and a module leader for MHD module in BSc Medical Biosciences.


Our gut is colonised by estimated 37 trillion microbes, which affect our wellbeing in a very complex manner. As new DNA sequencing technologies advance, we have identified our gut microbes in terms of 'who they are'; however, 'what they do' is still largely unknown. My research focuses on investigating metabolic interactions between host and the gut microbiota and exploring functional roles of the gut microbiota in modulating host physiology. We use NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry (MS)-based metabolic profiling methods to elucidate host-microbial co-metabolism.

Research projects are available for PhD studies and Postdocs. If you are interested, please get in touch.

On-going Funding

MRC New Investigator “Impact of an Enterobacteriaceae-rich microbial community on gut health” (2017-2020); ERC Starting Grant “EnteroBariatric” (2017-2022); NIH research grant “Randomized Controlled Trial of Resistant Starch to Reduce Colon Cancer Risk in Alaska Native People” (2016-2019); Elsie Widdowson Fellowship (2017-2018).

Honours and Awards

Elsie Widdowson Fellowship (2017); “40 World Young Scientists” at the World Summer Davos Conference (2015); Wang-Kuan-Cheng Research Fellowship (2012); Bioanalysis Young Investigator Award (2011, runner up); Imperial College Research Fellowship (2010-2013); Imperial College Deputy Rector’s Award (2005-2008); PhD scholarship from Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (2005-2009); Tianjin City Science and Technology Award (2004); Nankai University Scholarship (2002-2004).

Membership and Editorial Board

2017 -                 Member, Metabolomics Society

2017 -                 Editorial Board Member of npj Molecular Phenomics

2017 -                 Associate Editor of BMC  Nutrition & Metabolism

2017 -                 Biochemical Society - Theme Panel Member: Clinical and Translational Research

2016 - 2017        Editor of Journal Methods

2014 -                 Member, Biochemical Society

2008 -                 Member, the Royal Society of Chemistry

2012 - 2013         Professional Member, Diabetes

2010 - 2014         Member, American Society for Microbiology    

2008 - 2009         Member, British Society for Parasitology

Postdoctoral Researchers:

Dr. Zhigang Liu - MRC-funded project: Impact of an Enterobacteriaceae-rich microbial community on gut health

Dr. Maria Glymenaki - ERC-funded project: EntroBariatric


Aruchuna Mohanaruban - EndoBarrier (Clinical Research Fellow) (2015 - 2018)

Hu Cong - Effects of Anaesthetics on Cancer Metastatic Gene, Protein and Metabolic Profiling (2017 - 2020)

Elisabeth Vonhof - Application of 1H HR MAS NMR spectroscopy in investigating host-microbial interaction (2017 - 2020)

Grace Barker - Nutritional intervention for colorectal cancer (2017 - 2020)

Jutarop Phetcharaburanin - Metabolic and microbial alterations in bariatric surgery (writing up)

Natalie McLymont - Application of metabonomics in ICU patients (passed viva)

Visiting PhD:

Ornuma Haonon - Metabolic profiles of kidney injury in opisthorchiasis hamster during consumption high fat/high fructose diets and MSG intake, Khon Kaen University


01.2018 - 06.2018          MRes supervisor "Investigating the metabolic behaviour of gut bacteria after bariatric surgery" - Student: Man Chun Wong

10.2017 - 03.2018          MRes supervisor "Gut tissue metabolism after bariatric surgery" - Student: Yang Bi

3.2017 - 09.2017            MRes supervisor "The role of gut microbiota in bariatric surgery" - Student: Isabelle Coales

3.2017 - 09.2017            MRes supervisor "Metabolic phenotyping of colonic organoids" - Student: Qiling Chen

3.2017 - 09.2017            MRes supervisor "Metabolic behaviour of the gut bacterial isolated from obese and weight loss surgical patients" - Student: Grace Barker

03.2016 - 09.2016          MRes supervisor “Effects of acute and chronic monosodium glutamate intakes as a food additive on urinary metabolic changes” - Student: Hasina Abdul

03.2016 - 09.2016           MRes supervisor “Metabolic profiling of lung cancer cell lines” - Student: Chiao Chin Gan

10.2015 - 03.2016            MRes supervisor “Metabolic Profiling of Children with Crohn’s Disease and their Responses to Enteral Nutrition Therapy” - Student: Victoria Auyeung

10.2015 - 03.2016            MRes supervisor “Investigation of Metabolic Phenotypes of Zebrafish Related to Genotypes and Environment” - Student: Yousun Kim

10.2015 - 03.2016            MRes supervisor “Investigating the impact of bariatric surgery-induced microbiota on Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan and lipidome” - Student: Gintare (Amber) Vaitkute 

10.2015 - 08.2016            MRes supervisor “Investigating the Effect of a High Protein Diet in Mice Using Metabolic Profiling” - Student: Anqi Zhang (an abstract submitted to a conference)

03.2015 - 09.2015            MRes supervisor “Metabolic Behaviour of Gut Bacteria under Various Environmental Conditions” - Student: Jessica Lin 

03.2015 - 09.2015            MRes supervisor “A 1H NMR- and UPLC-MS-Based Metabolomic Investigation of Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery-Induced Metabolic Changes of the Intestine, Spleen and Pancreas Extracts of Non-Diabetic Rats” - Student: Zhanxuan (Emily) Wu

10.2014 - 03.2015            MRes primary supervisor for a project entitled “Human Faecal Sample Collection Method Development” - Student: Jasmina Gratton (published article)

10.2014 - 03.2015            MRes primary supervisor for a project entitled “Metabolic phenotyping of IBD patients” - Student: Miriam Eustace

10.2013-03.2014             MRes primary supervisor for a project entitled “Anti-malarial effect of Albertisia delagoensis” - Student: Sarah Amis

03.2012-09.2012             MRes primary supervisor for a project entitled “Metabolic effects of antibiotics in mice” - Student: Bing Xia

10.2011-03.2012             MRes primary supervisor for a project entitled “Quality control of a traditional Chinese medicine” - Student: Durr-e-Shahwar Malik

03.2011-09.2011              MRes primary supervisor for a project entitled “The biochemical component analysis of medicinal plant extracts” - Student: Danielle Monteil

10.2010-03.2011             MRes co-supervisor for a project entitled “The impact of inhalational anaesthetics on the neurochemical profile in an in vitro model of Alzheimer’s disease” - Student: Sam Spurr

01.2010-08.2010            Co-supervisor of MRes student from Queen Mary University working on African plant extracts


02.2014 - 05.2014           BSc primary supervisor for a project entitled “Metabolic effect of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass on Zucker rats” - Student: Raheej Khan

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Seyfried F, Li JV, Miras AD, et al., 2013, Urinary Phenotyping Indicates Weight Loss-Independent Metabolic Effects of Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass in Mice, Journal of Proteome Research, Vol:12, ISSN:1535-3893, Pages:1245-1253

Seyfried F, Li JV, Miras AD, et al., 2013, Urinary phenotyping indicates weight loss independent metabolic effects of Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass in mice, Journal of Proteome Research

Holmes E, Li JV, Marchesi JR, et al., 2012, Gut Microbiota Composition and Activity in Relation to Host Metabolic Phenotype and Disease Risk, Cell Metabolism, Vol:16, ISSN:1550-4131, Pages:559-564

Li JV, Ashrafian H, Bueter M, et al., 2012, Metabolic surgery profoundly influences gut microbial-host metabolic cross-talk, Gut, Vol:60, Pages:1214-1223

LI JV, Reshat R, Wu Q, et al., 2011, Experimental bariatric surgery in rats generates a cytotoxic chemical environment in the gut contents, Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol:2, Pages:1-9

Holmes E, Li JV, Athanasiou T, et al., 2011, Understanding the role of gut microbiome-host metabolic signal disruption in health and disease, Trends in Microbiology, Vol:19, ISSN:0966-842X, Pages:349-359

Yap IKS, Li JV, Saric J, et al., 2008, Metabonomic and microbiological analysis of the dynamic effect of vancomycin-induced gut microbiota modification in the mouse, Journal of Proteome Research, Vol:7, Pages:3718-3728

More Publications