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






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).


Prof Rajiv Jalan, YAQRIT, UCL, Carbon particle treatment for obesity, 2015

Dr. Filipe Cabreiro, UCL, host-microbial interactions using a C. elegans model, 2015

Dr. Kevin Murphy, Imperial College London, Obesity and high protein diet, 2015

Professor Maggie DallmanDr. Laurence Bugeon, Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, Metabolic profiling of Zebra fish fed high fat diet, 2015

Dr. Edson de Souza Bento, Instituto de Química e Biotecnologia, metabolic profiling of sugar cane metabolism in response to various stress factors, 2012 - 2016

Prof. Aiping Lu, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2010

Prof. Liping Zhao, Shanghai JiaoTong University, Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2010

Prof. Tannaz J. Birdi, The Foundation for Medical Research, Metabonomics in plant extracts, e.g. Guava leaves, 2009

Dr. Russell Stothard, Natural History Museum, Metabonomics in Parasitology, 2008

Dr. Julian Marchesi, Cardiff University, Functional metagenomics, 2007

Prof. Juerg UtzingerProf. Jennifer Keiser, Swiss Tropical Institute, Metabonomics in Parasitology, 2005

Dr. Ubon Cha'on, Khon Kaen University, Metabolic impact of sodium monoglutamate

Dr. Britta Lundstrom-Stadelmann, University of Bern, Switzerland, Metabolomics of Echinococcus multilcularis using both in vivo and in vitro models

Prof Steve O'Keefe, University of Pittsburgh, diet and colon cancer risk

Dr. Claudio Avignone-Rossa, University of Surrey, Biofuel

Dr. Marco Ventura, University of Parma, Probiotics

Prof. Laurence Millon, Laboratoire de Parasitologie, CHU Besançon, Echinostoma;

Profs. Yulan Wang and Huiru Tang, Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics

Dr Florian Seyfried, University of Wurzburg, Bariatric surgery

Dr. Tannaz Birdi, Foundation for Medical Research, Guava leave extracts and functional compounds

Guest Lectures

Metabolic profiling in parasitic infection, University of Bern, Switzerland, 2017

What can metabolic profiling and the exposome tell us about chemical risks?, Keynote talk at the 10th International Symposium on Biological Monitoring, Italy, 2017

Metabolic Surgery, Keynote talk at the Metabolomics Conference 2017, Australia, 2017

Metabolic profiling, University College London, London, 2017

Application of NMR spectroscopic analysis in bariatric surgery, 58th ENC conference, California, USA, 2017

Metabolic profiling in Biomedical Research, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand, 2016

Workshop talk, “Impact of microbes on C. elegans life traits”, UK, University College London, London, 2016

Metabolic profiling of host-microbial interactions, Xijing Hospital, Xi'An, China, 2015

Clinical metabonomics, Mayo Clinic, USA, 2015

Surgical metabonomics, International Symposium on Metabonomics in Translational Medicine, Shanghai, China, China, 2014

Application of Metabonomics, Institute of Biotechnology, Maceio, Brazil, Brazil, 2014

Metabolomics-based targets: helping parasitic disease management?, the International Symposium ‘Innovation for the Management of Echinococcosis’, France, 2014

Metabonomics in Clinical Research, The 8th International Conference on Genomics, Shenzhen, ChinaWuhan, China, 2013

Metabonomics in biomedical research, the 8th International Conference on Genomics (ICG), BGI, China, China, 2013

Diet, Microbiota, Disease, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, 2013

Application of Metabonomics in Clinical Research, University Würzburg Medical School, Würzburg, Germany, 2013

Application of metabonomics and functional microbiomics to the investigation of host-gut microbial interactions, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK, 2012

Gut Microbial-Host Metabolic Crosstalk in Health and Disease, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, 2011

Gut Microbial-Host Metabolic Axis in Human Health and Disease, Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics, Wuhan, China, 2011

Metabolomics in Traditional Herbal Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China, 2011

Can metabolic profiling strategy be a diagnostic tool?, Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics, Wuhan, China, 2009

Research Staff



Research Student Supervision

Abdul,H, Effects of acute and chronic monosodium glutamate intakes as a food additive on urinary metabolic changes

Amis,S, The anti-malarial and anti-microbial assessment of medicinal plant extracts

Auyeung,V, Metabolic Profiling of Children with Crohn’s Disease and their Responses to Enteral Nutrition Therapy

Barker,G, Metabolic behaviour of the gut bacterial isolated from obese and weight loss surgical patients

Barker,G, PhD - Nutritional intervention for colorectal cancer

Chen,Q, Metabolic phenotyping of colonic organoids

Coales,I, The role of gut microbiota in bariatric surgery

Cong,H, PhD - Effects of Anaesthetics on Cancer Metastatic Gene, Protein and Metabolic Profiling

Eustace,M, Metabolic profiling of IBD patients

Gan,C, Metabolic profiling of lung cells

Gratton,J, Protocol Development for Faecal Sample Collection from Patients

Lin,J, Metabolic Behaviour of Gut Bacteria under Various Environmental Conditions

Malik,D, Quality control of a traditional Chinese medicine

McLymont,N, PhD - Metabolic signatures of sepsis in critical care: an individualised approach to diagnosis and management

Mohanaruban,A, PhD - EndoBarrier trial and metabolic profiling

Monteil,D, The biochemical component analysis of medicinal plant extracts

Phetcharaburanin,P, PhD - Metabolic and microbial alterations in bariatric surgery

Spurr,S, The impact of inhalational anaesthetics on the neurochemical profile in an in vitro model of Alzheimer’s disease

Vaitkute,G, Investigating the effects of the microbiota on the host’s lifespan and lipidome post-bariatric surgery using C.elegans as a model organism

Vonhof,E, PhD - Application of 1H HR MAS NMR Spectroscopy in investigating host-microbial interaction

Wu,Z, Weight loss surgery changes intestinal metabolism

Xia,B, Metabolic effects of antibiotics in mice

Yang,B, Investigation of intestinal tissue metabolism in Zucker diabetic rats after Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery

zhang,A, Investigating the Effect of A High Protein Diet on Metabonomics