Ren-Ke Li


Toronto General Hospital, TMDT Room 3-702, 101 College St., Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1L7
Research Interests
My research group within the Toronto General Research Institute focuses on translational research to apply new insights to clinical applications for cardiac repair and regeneration.
Fellows, Graduates

Research Synopsis

Research Divisions: Experimental Therapeutics

Research Interests: Heart failure following a myocardial infarction is a major clinical problem. Cardiac dysfunction after myocardial infarction is due to the loss of the heart muscle cells. We have developed a technique to implant stem cells into damaged heart tissue to repair and regenerate heart tissue. The pre-clinical data demonstrates that implanted cells can improve heart function. Clinical research is underway.

Keywords: Myocardial Infarction, Heart Failure, Cardiac regeneration, Cardiac function, Cardiac function measurement, Stem Cells, Animal models, Tissue engineering, Molecular biology, Conductive biomaterial.

Detailed Description:
Stem cells have been isolated and implanted into damaged heart post heart attack. The transplanted cells survived in the heart tissue.


Procedures: Cell culture, Molecular biological procedures, Cardiac operation and animal model creation. Heart function analysis.



Daniel Ramnath (MSc. Candidate)
Mike Lee (PhD Candidate)
Zhi Cui (PhD Candidate)
Tina Binesh Marvasti (MD/PhD Candidate)
Stephanie Tobin (Post-doctoral fellow)
Azadeh Yeganeh (Post-doctoral fellow)



Recent Publications



Rodness J, Mihic A, Miyagi Y, Wu J, Weisel RD, Li RK. VEGF-loaded microsphere patch for local protein delivery to the ischemic heart. Acta Biomaterialia. 2016 Nov 1;45:169-181. Impact Factor 6.025. Senior Responsible Author.

Hatta , Zhang Y, Wu J, SunZ, Weisel RD, Li R-K. Uterine derived CD11b cells significantly increase vasculogenesis and promote myocardial healing in cardiomyopathy. Cell Transplantation. 2016 Sep 2;25(9):1665-1674. Impact Factor 3.127. Senior Responsible Author.

Huang XP, Ludke A, Dhingra S, Guo J, Sun Z, Zhang L, Weisel RD, Li R-K. Class II transactivator knockdown limits major histocompatibility complex II expression, diminishes immune rejection, and improves survival of allogeneic bone marrow stem cells in the infarcted heart. The FASEB Journal. 2016 May 24;30. Impact Factor 5.299. Senior Responsible Author.

Wu J Song HF, Li SH, Guo J, Tsang K, Tumiati L,Butany J, Yau TM, Ouzounian M, Fu S, Tirone ED, Weisel RD, Li R-K. Progressive Aortic Dilation Is Regulated by miR-17-Associated miRNAs. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2016 Apr 5;67(25):2965-77. Impact Factor 17.759. Senior Responsible Author.

Yan P, Gong H, Zhai X, Feng Y, Wu J, He S, Guo J, Wang X, Guo R, Xie J, Li R-K. Decreasing CNPY2 Expression Diminishes Colorectal Tumor Growth and Development through Activation of p53 Pathway. American Journal of Pathology. 2016 Apr;186(4):1015-1024. Impact Factor 4.206. Senior Responsible Author.



Cross-Appointed to Department of Physiology
Primary Appointments: Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Toronto
Senior Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network