Xiaowei Li, PhD

Xiaowei Li, PhDAssistant Professor - Department of Neurological Sciences

Li Lab
985965 Nebraska Medical Center


Research Interests: 
The Li laboratory focuses on exploiting bioengineering strategies for tissue regeneration by combining the principles of biomaterial science, biological science, stem cell biology, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine with the advanced techniques in molecular and cell biology. Specifically, we aim to develop biomaterial approaches to induce a permissive microenvironment to improve efficiency of stem cell therapies for regeneration of injured/diseased tissues. We also apply biomaterial platforms to influence endogenous cell fates to promote functional tissue regeneration.

Current Projects:
AHA Career Development Award
Promoting Organization and Integration of Transplanted Stem Cells for Brain Tissue Regeneration after Stroke
Nebraska Stem Cell Research Project
Injectable Antioxidative Resilient Composite for Peripheral Arterial Disease Treatment


  1. Xiaowei Li, Brian Cho, Russell Martin, Michelle Seu, Chi Zhang, Zhengbing Zhou, Ji Suk Choi, Xuesong Jiang, Long Chen, Gurjot Walia, Jerry Yan, Megan Callanan, Huanhuan Liu, Kevin Colbert, Justin Morrissette-McAlmon, Warren Grayson, Sashank Reddy, Justin M. Sacks, and Hai-Quan Mao. Nanofiber-hydrogel Composite–mediated Angiogenesis for Soft Tissue Reconstruction. Science Translational Medicine, 2019, 11(490): eaau6210.
  2. Xiaowei Li, Stephany Tzeng, Camila Zamboni, Guo-li Ming, Vassili Koliatsos, Jordan Green, Hai-Quan Mao. Enhancing oligodendrocyte differentiation by transient transcription activation via DNA nanoparticle-mediated transfection. Acta Biomaterialia, 2017, 54: 249-258.
  3. Xiaowei Li, Yu-Hao Cheng, Jose Roman, Hai-Quan Mao. (2017). Biomimetic nanofibers as artificial stem cell niche. In Ajaykumar Vishwakarma and Jeffrey Karp (Eds.). Biology and Engineering of Stem Cell Niche (pp. 411-425). Cambridge, MA: Academic Press.
  4. Xiaowei Li, Stephany Tzeng, Xiaoyan Liu, Markus Tammia, Yu-Hao Cheng, Andrew Rolfe, Dong Sun, Ning Zhang, Jordan Green, Xuejun Wen, Hai-Quan Mao. Transient expression of neurogenin-2 through nanoparticles enhances neuronal differentiation of human neural progenitors for brain regeneration after traumatic injury. Biomaterials, 2016, 84: 157-166.
  5. Xiaowei Li, Kristen Kozielski, Yu-Hao Cheng, Huanhuan Liu, Camila Zamboni, Jordan Green, Hai-Quan Mao. Nanoparticle-mediated conversion of astrocytes into neurons and oligodendrocytes. Biomaterials Science, 2016, 4: 1100-1112.
  6. Xiaowei Li, Xiaoyan Liu, Donglu Shi, Xuejun Wen. Particle systems for stem cell applications. Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, 2015, 11: 1107-1123.
  7. Xiaowei Li, Xiaoyan Liu, Benjamin Josey, James Chou, Yu Tan, Ning Zhang, Xuejun Wen. Short laminin peptide for improved neural stem cell growth. Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 2014, 3: 662-670.
  8. Xiaowei Li, Xiaoyan Liu, Ning Zhang, Xuejun Wen. Engineering in situ crosslinkable, and neurocompatible hydrogels. Journal of Neurotrauma, 2014, 31(16): 1431-1438.
  9. Xiaowei Li, Xiaoyan Liu, Lin Cui, Christopher Brunson, Wen Zhao, Narayan Bhat, Ning Zhang, Xuejun Wen. Engineering an in situ crosslinkable hydrogel for enhanced remyelination. The FASEB Journal, 2013, 27(3): 1127-1136.
  10. Xiaowei Li, Eleni Katsanevakis, Xiaoyan Liu, Ning Zhang, Xuejun Wen. Engineering neural stem cell fates with hydrogel design for central nervous system regeneration. Progress in Polymer Science, 2012, 37(8): 1105-1129.
  11. Xiaowei Li, Xiaoyan Liu, Wen Zhao, Xuejun Wen, Ning Zhang. Manipulating neural-stem-cell mobilization and migration in vitro. Acta Biomaterialia, 2012, 8(6): 2087-2095.12.
  12. Xiaowei Li, Xiaoyan Liu, Yu Tan, Van Tran, Ning Zhang, Xuejun Wen. Improve the viability of transplanted neural cells with appropriate sized neurospheres coated with mesenchymal stem cells. Medical Hypotheses, 2012, 79(2): 274-277.
  13. Xiaoyan Liu, Xiaowei Li§, Ning Zhang, Xuejun Wen. Bioengineering strategies for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, 2016, 12(4): 581-601 (§ Contributed equally to the manuscript).
  14. Wen Zhao, Xiaowei Li§, Xiaoyan Liu, Ning Zhang, Xuejun Wen. Effects of substrate stiffness on adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 2014, 40: 316-323 (§ Contributed equally to the manuscript).
Complete List of Published Work in Google Scholar can be found here


  1. Russell Martin, Sashank Reddy, Justin Sacks, Xiaowei Li, Brian Cho, Hai-Quan Mao. Fiber-hydrogel composite surgical meshes for tissue repair. US20180243481A1.
  2. Xuesong Jiang, Sashank Reddy, Gerald Brandacher, Hai-Quan Mao, Justin Sacks, Xiaowei Li, Kevin Feng, Russell Martin, George C Yalanis, Ji Suk Choi. Composite material for tissue restoration. US20180050130A1.
  3. Xiaowei Li, Ning Zhang, Xuejun Wen. Methods and compositions for cell culture platform. US 8,609,409 B2.

2010-2012: AHA Predoctoral Fellowship
2013-2015: Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship
2018-2021: AHA Career Development Award