Where are they now: Li Wu

01 December 2020

From Melbourne to Beijing, taking immunological research across the globe and inspiring a new generation of researchers.

Li Wu (alum years 1987-2010), Professor of Immunology and Associate Dean, Tsinghua University School of Medicine in Beijing, China, shares her fondest memories of her time at WEHI.

What do you currently do?

I am doing immunological research, mainly focusing on the molecular regulation of mucosal innate immune cell development and function. I am also in charge of the education program for Medical Doctor (M.D.) at Tsinghua University.

What research did you undertake at WEHI?

I was at WEHI for 23 years, firstly as a PhD student, then a postdoc research fellow. I became a faculty member from 1997 as a research fellow and later became a senior research fellow.

“The years I spent at WEHI were some of the most exciting of my career.”
Professor Li Wu

My PhD study was to identify the earliest precursors for T-cell development in the thymus. I successfully identified, for the first time, the earliest lymphoid-restricted precursor population in mouse thymus, which could differentiate into both T and B cells.

My postdoctoral research project was to determine the origin of dendritic cells of lymphoid tissues (thymus and spleen). Interestingly, we found that the intrathymic earliest precursor cells could also differentiate into thymic and splenic dendritic cells.

What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about biomedical research and medical education. The discoveries in medical research and their applications in the treatments of diseases always inspires my research enthusiasm.

What are your professional highlights?

I was awarded the 1996 Burnet Prize for my research achievements at WEHI and an Honorary Doctor Degree from the University of Melbourne, recognising my contribution to establishing the collaborative medical education program between Tsinghua University and the University of Melbourne.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am a good cook and a scuba diver.

Related topics
Key Researchers
Prof Li Wu
Honorary Research Fellow
Media Enquiries
WEHI Authors
Prof Li Wu
Honorary Research Fellow
Support us

Together we can create a brighter future

Your support will help WEHI’s researchers make discoveries and find treatments to ensure healthier, longer lives for you and your loved ones.

Sign up to our quarterly newsletter Illuminate

Find out about recent discoveries, community supporters and more.

Illuminate Winter 2024
View the current issue