Dr. Li graduated from Nanjing University, Nanjing, China, with a B.Sc. in physics, and obtained his Ph.D. in theoretical biophysics from the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Science, in 2006. He undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK. Prior to joining Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a faculty member, Dr. Li was a senior research scientist and principal investigator at the Broad Institute from 2009 to 2018. He is still affiliated with Broad Institute.
Dr. Li studies advanced computational algorithms in sequence alignment, variant calling, de novo assembly, data storage, and information query. He developed and maintains several widely used software packages, such as BWA, samtools, minimap2, and seqtk, for the analysis of high-throughput sequencing data. His research activity is focused on analysis of population genetic data to understand the evolution of human and primates, and he also works with other groups on single-cell sequencing, association studies, and cancer genomics.
In 2012, Dr. Li received the Benjamin Franklin Award for contributions in Bioinformatics and has been noted as a highly cited researcher since 2014, being top 1% in computer science, molecular biology and genetics. His work has been cited over 79,000 times as of October, 2018.